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CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




THE 

CHARLES WILLIAM WASON 

COLLECTION ON CHINA 

AND THE CHINESE 



DS 485.B89W58"'"™">' '""'"'^ 





Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022998938 



A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 




Buddha's Foot. 



A CIVIL SERVANT 
IN BURMA 



BY 

SIR HERBERT THIRKELL WHITE, K.C.I.E. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



LONDON 
EDWARD ARNOLD 

1913 

[All rights reserved] 



TO 

MY WIFE 

WHO SHARED 

MY LIFE IN BURIVtA 

FOR MORE THAN THIETY-TWO YEARS 



PREFACE 

This is not a guide-book, or a history, or a study of 
manners and customs. It is a plain story of official 
life for more than thirty years. It does not compete 
with any of the books already written about Burma, 
except, perhaps, the monumental work of General 
Fytche. While pursuing as a rule a track of 
chronological order, I have not hesitated to wander 
into by-paths of dissertation and description, I 
could not write without attempting to give frag- 
mentary impressions of the people and their 
character. As far as possible I have limited my 
narrative to events within my own knowledge ; my 
judgments are based on my own observation. 

I have to express my acknowledgments to the 
friends who have given me photographs to illustrate 
the book. My special thanks are due to Mr. A. 
Leeds, I.C.S. (retired), for a large number of 
characteristic and charming pictures. 

H. T. W. 

September, 1913. 



vil 



CONTENTS 



OHAPTEK 

I. INTRODUCTORY : A RETROSPECT AND SOME COM- 
PARISONS 
II. EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

III. THE FIRST SUBDIVISION : THE SECRETARIAT 

IV. SOME ASPECTS OF BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 
V. ON THE FRONTIER 

VI. THE SECRETARIAT: THE LAST SUBDIVISION 
VII. THE TAKING OP MANDALAY 
VIII. EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 
IX. LORD DTJFFERIN'S VISIT — MANDALAY ONCE MORE - 
X. THE FIRST YEAR AFTER THE ANNEXATION - 
XI. A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 

XIL UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE, 1887-1890 
XIIL A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 
XrV. RANGOON — MANDALAY 
XV. LOWER BURMA ONCE MORE 
XVL MANDALAY : THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 
XVII. THE CHIEF COURT — LAST YEARS IN BURMA 

GLOSSARY - 
INDEX 



1 
16 

36 

55 

73 

90 

99 
114 
137 
154 
183 
201, 
225 
235 
256 
266 
285 

307 
309 



/ 



IX 



NOTE 

Burmese words are spelt according to the Government system 
of transliteration. Consonants have the same power as in 
English. Y after g combines to form a sound approximating to 
j : gifi = "jee" ; after every other consonant it is short — m§o. 
Yw is pronounced "yu." Vowels and diphthongs have the 
sounds given below : 

a = a in "Ma." 

e=o in " bane." 

^ = e in French "p6re," without 

any sound of r following. 

i — ee in "feet." 

o or 8 = in "bone." 

u=oo in " fool.' ' 

au = ow in " cow." 

m = i in "line." 

ei=ei in "vein." 

an> = am in "law." 

Every letter, except y after g, is sounded separately, including 
final vowels. Thus, lu-gale is pronounced " loo-ga-lay." These 
instructions are crude and unscientific, and may excite the 
derision of purists. They will enable anyone to pronounce 
Burmese words with some approach to correctness. In the case 
of Shan names I have as a rule adopted the Burmese forms 
rather than the Shan forms in official use, which no one who 
does not know the language can pretend to pronounce properly. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Buddha's Foot {Photograph by A. Leeds) Frontispiece 



FACING PAGE 



Burmese Houses {Photograph by A. Leeds) - 48 
Chin-lon {Photograph by E. G. N. Kinch) 58 
The Myo-6k-gadaw {Photograph by A. Leeds) 64 
The Potter {Photograph by E. G. JSl. Kinch) 64 
Snake Pagoda {Photograph by A. Leeds) 70 
Burmese G-irl Worshipping {Photograph by A.Leeds)- 70 
When the Floods are Out {Photograph by A. Leeds) - 84 
The City Wall, Mandalay {PMograph by A. Leeds) - 120 
Eow OF BuDDHAS {Photograph by A. Leeds) - 128 
Eeleasing Turtle {Photograph by A. Leeds) 128 
A Burmese Family {Photograph by A. Leeds) 162 
The Sawbwa of Thibaw {Photograph by London Stereo- 
scopic Company) - - 174 
Monastery with Carving {Photograph by A. Leeds) 184 
The Thatha-na-baing {Photograph by Watts and Sheen, 

Rangoon) - 190 

A Monastery {Photograph by E. G. N. Kinch) ■ 200 

Pagoda at Mone {Photograph by Sir J. G. Scott, K.G.I. E.) 226 
The Paungdawu Festival {Photograph by Sir J. G. Scott, 

K.C.I.E.) ... .232 

Bo Cho and His Sons - 260 



XI 



A CIYIL SERVANT IN BURMA 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY : A RETROSPECT AND SOME 
COMPARISONS 

Burma is a Province of the Indian Empire. It is 
not, as some suppose, a Crown Colony administered 
directly under the Colonial Office. Nor is it, as 
others do vainly talk, a foreign State where Britain 
is represented by Consuls. It is the largest, yet 
the least populous, of Indian Provinces, more ex- 
tensive even than undivided Bengal. The estimated 
area is over two hundred and thirty thousand square 
miles, larger than either France or Germany. Ac- 
cording to the last census (1911), the population is 
about twelve millions. On the west, its seaboard 
washed by the Bay of Bengal, Burma marches with 
Bengal, Assam, and Manipur; on the east, with 
China, French Indo- China, and Siam. To the north, 
it stretches, through tracts unadministered and un- 
explored, to the confines of Tibet. The mass of the 
people are Burmans, a Mongol race akin to Chinese 
and Siamese. Other races in Burma are Talaings, 
scattered over the Irrawaddy Delta and the Tenas- 
serim division ; Shans, who occupy the great plateau 

1 



2 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

on the east and are also found in the northern districts ; 
Karens, whose home is Karenni, but who are widely 
spread over Lower Burma ; Kachins, people of the 
hills on the north-east ; and Chins, of many clans, 
inhabiting the hill - country on the north - west 
border. 

From the middle of the eighteenth century 
Burma was ruled by the dynasty of Alaungpaya, 
corruptly called Alompra. Alaungpaya seems to 
have been a Dacoit chief who began his career at 
Shwebo,* and made himself master of the whole 
country. In his time the Burmese were a warlike 
people, withstanding the might of China, and 
carrying their victorious standards into Siam. Ten 
Princes | of his House ruled over the whole, or part, 
of his kingdom. In 1826, after the First Burmese 
War, the Provinces of Tenasserim and Arakan were 
annexed by the East India Company, the central 
block from the sea to Tibet remaining under the 
Burmese King. In 1852 the Province of Pegu was 
conquered. In 1862 Pegu, Tenasserim, and Arakan 
were combined to form the Province of British 
Burma, and placed in charge of a Chief Commis- 
sioner directly responsible to the Government of 
India. In 1885 occurred the Third Burmese War. 
Early in 1886, Upper Burma, all that remained 
under native rule, was incorporated in the British 
Empire. Burma continued to be administered by 
a Chief Commissioner till 1897, when the first 
Lieutenant-Governor was appointed. 

* M.6k-so-ho-myo, the hunter's city, 
t See p. 107. 



INTRODUOTOEY 3 

These elementary facts are recorded for the 
benefit of any who may be thankful for geographi- 
cal and historical information about distant depen- 
dencies of the Crown. We all know the story of 
Cape Breton. Most of us have met people who 
think that our connection with Burma began in 
1885 ; that Burma regiments are manned by Burman 
sepoys ; that, to cite an alien instance, Bengalis 
serve in the Indian Army. Even what was long 
regarded as the mythical confusion of Burma with 
Bermuda was seriously printed in a London weekly 
last year, and all the newspapers told how an 
officer who entered the Army in 1886 served in the 
Second Burmese War. Errors like these justify the 
platitudes of the preceding paragraphs. 

When I first became acquainted with Burma, the 
system of administration was comparatively simple. 
The Province consisted of three divisions, each 
under a Commissioner. Subordinate to the Com- 
missioner were Deputy Commissioners, each in 
charge of a district. Under the Deputy-Commis- 
sioner were subdivisional and township officers, in 
charge respectively of subdivisions and townships. 
These jurisdictions still remain. In those distant 
days townships were further divided into circles, 
the territorial unit of administration, constituted 
primarily for revenue purposes. Each circle was in 
charge of a Talk Thugyi,* a native official of posi- 
tion and dignity and often of considerable wealth. 
The Talk Thugyi collected capitation tax and land 
and fishery revenue, the main sources of the 
* Great or headman of the circle. 



4 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Provincial income, and received a substantial com- 
mission on the returns. Except as a tax-collector, 
he had no statutory powers. But he was the chief 
man in his circle, and, if of strong character, exer- 
cised great influence. Every village had its head- 
man, called the Kye-dan-gyi,* with onerous duties 
and incommensurate powers and emoluments. In 
recent years circle and village organization has been 
reformed. Talk Thugyis have been abolished or 
are in course of abolition. The village is now the 
administrative unit. The Ywa Thugyi | is the local 
judge and magistrate, with extensive powers and a 
respectable position. 

Except of purely Imperial offices, such as Post 
and Telegraphs, the Commissioner was the head of 
all Departments in the division. As Sessions Judge 
he was also the chief judicial officer. In like 
manner the Deputy Commissioner controlled every 
branch of the administration in his district. The 
bulk of petty revenue, criminal, and civil work was 
done by Assistant Commissioners, Extra Assistant 
Commissioners,! and Myo-6ks,§ in charge of sub- 
divisions and townships. Most of the Extra Assist- 
ants and all the Myo-oks were natives of Burma. 
I think it is true that early in 1878 no Burmese 
officer exercised higher powers than those of a 
third-class magistrate, and not one was in charge 
of a subdivision. 

* Principal taxpayer. f Headman of the village. 

X Members of the Provincial Civil Service. 
§ Literally, heads of townships, members of the Subordinate 
Civil Service. 



INTRODUCTORY 5 

The judicial administration was controlled by a 
Judicial Commissioner, who was the High Court 
for the whole country except Rangoon, and who 
was always deputed from another Province. When 
I joined, the late Mr. J. D. Sandford was Judicial 
Commissioner. In Rangoon the reins of justice 
were in the strong hands of the Recorder (the late 
Mr. C. J. Wilkinson). The Judicial Commissioner 
and the Recorder sat together in a quaint tribunal 
called the Special Court, which heard appeals from 
the decisions of each of its members. When the 
Judges of the Special Court failed to agree, a 
difl&cult position occurred. The High Court at 
Calcutta exercised anomalous jurisdiction in certain 
cases. Except the Judicial Commissioner, the 
Recorder, the Judge of Moulmein, and a Small 
Cause Court Judge or two, there were no officers 
occupied exclusively with judicial work. All exer- 
cised judicial and executive functions. Divisional, 
Sessions, District, Subdivisional, and Township 
Judges, who now flourish in luxuriant abundance, 
were not even in the bud. 

The rank and file of the police were mostly 
Burmans, with some admixture of Indians not of 
a very good class. The superior officers, District 
and Assistant Superintendents, were men of ex- 
perience, well acquainted with the people. A few 
military officers still remained in the civil police, 
Major T. Lowndes * being Inspector- General. Per- 
haps the best-known of the British officers were 
Messrs. Perreau, Fforde, Jameson, and Dixon, and 
* Major-General T. Lowndes, I.S.C. 



6 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUEMA 

Major C. A. Munro. The Burmese officers — in- 
spectors and head constables — were all men who 
had risen from the ranks. Every one of them had 
to enlist as a constable and work his way upward. 
The system was not without merit, and was well 
suited to the idiosyncrasy of the Burmese race. 
One distinguished Talaing officer held the rank of 
Superintendent of Police, though without a district 
charge. This was Maung Shwe Kyi, who was a 
King on the Siamese border at Kawkareik. One 
of the bravest and most resolute of men, his good 
service was recognized by his inclusion in the first 
list of Companions of the Order of the Indian 
Empire. His son carries on the tradition of his 
family. 

The Forest Department was in its early lusty 
youth vigorously directed by a single Conservator, 
Mr. R Eibbentrop,* assisted by a small but very 
able stafi". Burmese teak had long been a staple 
product of great value ; its care and development 
were the main duties of forest officers. The forest 
law was, and still remains, complex, logical, meticu- 
lous. I venture the humble suggestion that its 
exceeding obscurity may be due to the nationality 
of the pioneers of forest administration in India. 
We were taught forestry by Germans of great 
ability and high scientific attainments, who framed 
the statutes of their department as if they were 
metaphysical treatises. They created a great and 
efficient branch of the administration. But they 
enveloped its principles in a mist which baffies the 
* Mr. B. Ribbentrop, CLE. 



INTEODUCTORY 1 

ordinary lay intelligence, and can be pierced only by 
the philosophic mind, made, or at least trained, in 
Germany. 

Supreme over all was the Chief Commissioner 
(then Mr. Rivers Thompson*), assisted by a small 
but capable secretariat, which worked for long hours 
in a small office on the Strand Road in Rangoon. 
The Secretary, Major C. W. Street, was a military 
civilian of character and ability. The Junior Secre- 
tary was Mr. R. H. Pilcher, C.S., who had been 
Assistant Resident inMandalay, and was most learned 
in the Burmese and Shan tongues. My old friend, 
Mr. G. C. Kynoch, was Assistant Secretary. None 
of these survives. 

The higher officers entrusted with the general 
administration, as distinct from special branches, 
constituted the Commission. In the Commission 
were included the Chief Commissioner, Judicial 
Commissioner, Commissioners, Deputy Commis- 
sioners, and Assistant Commissioners. It was com- 
posed of Indian civilians, officers of the Indian Staif 
Corps, and uncovenanted| officers. Civilians were 
few in number. Burma was not considered of 
sufficient importance to have men assigned to it 
after the open competitions. Men were sent thither 
for their sins, either permanently or for a term of 
years. A Chief Commissioner's wife is said to have 
told one of these young men that other Provinces 
sent their worst men to Burma. However this 

* The late Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson, K.C.S.I., Lieut. - 
Governor of Bengal. 

t This term, formerly in ordinary use, is now obsolete. 



8 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

may be, no doubt Burma was regarded as a place of 
banishment, a dismal rice-swamp (or, as was once 
said, a howling paddy* -plain), where the sun never 
shone. I remember, while still in London, the com- 
miseration expressed with one of our seniors whose 
deportation to this dreary land was announced. 
All this was fiction, falser than the Roman's concep- 
tion of Britain. I found Burma a bright and 
pleasant land, green and forest-clad, with a climate 
healthier on the whole than the average climate of 
Indian plains ; its people singularly human, cheerful, 
and sympathetic ; its officers of all ranks companion- 
able and friendly. My own considered opinion is 
that, in many respects, Burma was one of the best 
provinces for a public servant. It is true that, at 
first, with only British or Lower Burma open to us, 
with but little variety of climate, we were rather 
cribbed and confined. The rains, lasting from May 
to October, began to pall about the middle of 
August. Fungus growth on boots was displeasing. 
The Province was (it still is) expensive, and pro- 
motion was slow. It took Sir Harvey Adamson and 
myself, who were contemporaries, over seven years 
to get a step of substantive rank. But there were 
compensations in the lightness of the work (except 
in the Secretariat), in the charm and attractiveness 
of the people, in the excellent good-fellowship of our 
brother-ofiicers, in the hope that before long we 
should be in Mandalay, and that united Burma 
would give ample scope and opportunity. Burmese 
cheroots, too, cost only eightpence a hundred. 
* Paddy is the local name for unhusked rice. 



INTRODUCTORY 9 

Among the military civilians were men of con- 
spicuous ability, trained in the school of Sir Arthur 
Phayre, whose name is still reverenced throughout 
Burma, and who stands in the first class of Indian 
statesmen and administrators. Many of them had 
taken an active part in the pacification of Pegu 
after the Second War, and were thoroughly familiar 
with the Province and its people, their language 
and customs. I yield to none -in high appreciation 
of the men of my own Service. They have done 
as good work in Burma, and have got as near to the 
people, as any men in India. But military civilians 
also have maintained to this day an honourable 
record, and have furnished to the Commission many 
valuable officers. I was just too late to know 
Colonel David Brown (Brown-gyi*), whose memory 
stiU lives in the Province. Colonel Horace Browne, | 
Colonel A. G. Duff, Captain C. H. E. Adamson,J 
Colonel W. C. Plant, are among the notable soldier- 
civilians of my early service. Other officers, after- 
wards well-known, were Mr. de Courcy Ireland, 
the first officer of his Service in India to become a 
commissioner ; Mr. A. H. Hildebrand,§ the first 
Superintendent of the Shan States ; and Johnny 
Davis, of Papun, whose knowledge of Burma and 
the Burmese was unique. When I joined, all the 
divisions were in charge of military officers, and 
with one or two exceptions, military and un- 
covenanted officers ruled every district. 

* Gyi, great. t Major-General Horace Browne, I.S.C. 
I Colonel C. H. E. Adamson, CLE. 
§ Mr. A. H. Hildebrand, CLE. 



10 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

In 1878 there was one line of railway, 160 miles 
in length, from Rangoon to Prome on the Irrawaddy. 
To and from Toungoo, a station on the Burmese 
frontier, the journey had to be made by way of the 
Sittang River, and pccupied about a fortnight. 
Once upon a time, a man started from Toungoo 
with a friend. They travelled in separate boats, in 
one of which was stored all the provisions for the 
voyage. The commissariat boat started first, and 
my man never saw his friend again till he reached 
Rangoon. For a fortnight he had to subsist on 
such scanty fare as he could pick up on the river- 
bank. When I saw him soon afterwards, he was 
perceptibly thinner and still full of wrath. Toungoo 
is now on the Mandalay line, and is reached in a 
few hours. There are 1,529 miles of railways in 
Burma ; lines to Mandalay, to Myit-kyi-na in the 
extreme north, to Alon on the Chindwin, to Moul- 
mein, one of our ports, to Lashio in the Northern 
Shan States, in mid-air on the way to China, to 
Bassein and Henzada in the Delta. The sea-borne 
trade has made immense progress. In 1878 it 
was valued at £15,684,920; in 1911 at nearly 
£43,000,000. 

The garrison consisted of two battalions of British 
infantry, one of which gave a detachment to the 
Andamans, five Madras regiments, and five batteries 
of artillery. Troops were stationed at Rangoon, on 
the frontier at Toungoo and Thayet-myo, and at 
Moulmein. There were no troops in Arakan. 
There were no military police. The Province was in 
a state of profound peace, though there were occa- 



INTEODUCTORY 11 

sional dacoities on the borders, and, as always, 
Tharrawaddy had a bad name. 

Of Rangoon in those early days, separate mention 
may be made. One glory it had which still abides. 
The Shwe Dag6n Pagoda, most sacred and most 
illustrious of pure Bhuddist shrines, dominating the 
landscape, rose golden to the sky. From far the 
traveller approaching Rangoon from the sea caught 
sight of that amazing shaft of gold, and instinctively 
did reverence. In the bright winter sunshine, in 
the blue haze of summer heat, in the veiled mysteries 
of tropic moonlight, it towered awe-inspiring, stupen- 
dous, divine. On feast days and sabbaths the 
platform was thronged with worshippers, surely the 
brightest, best-humoured, most laughter- loving of 
all pious crowds. Even now one can imagine no 
scene more gracious, more mystically serene and 
lovely, than the pagoda in the light of the full 
moon, when all that is tawdry and unseemly is 
charmed away. But thirty years ago, before the 
platform was covered with modern shrines not all in 
harmony with sesthetic canons, it was still more 
gravely and austerely beautiful. 

In recent years the erection of new buildings on 
the pagoda platform, already overcrowded, has been 
forbidden. This probably is wise and right. Being 
in the centre of a fort, with an arsenal in close 
proximity, the pagoda is in military custody. The 
presence of the arsenal is a menace to the safety of 
this famous shrine. A serious explosion would 
shatter the fabric and irreparably destroy one of 
the wonders of the world. The pagoda would be 



12 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BUEMA 

the natural place of refuge in time of serious dis- 
turbance. For this reason, among others, the con- 
tinuance of military control is essential. But the 
removal of the arsenal to a distance is an urgent 
necessity. 

After its occupation in 1852, Rangoon was care- 
fully laid out on a systematic plan, with straight 
streets of varying width. The broadest road, edged 
with shady trees, ran from Soolay Pagoda up to the 
cantonment, as fine a thoroughfare as could be seen 
in East or West. In the early fifties some far- 
seeing benefactor planted along Godwin Road* a 
glorious avenue of padauk, and earned the blessings 
of men later born. Three times, at the approach of 
the rains, these stately trees burst forth for a day 
in petals as beautiful and as fleeting as fairy gold. 
Then one drives under a canopy of gold, over a 
golden carpet of fallen flowers, amidst a crowd each 
bearing a golden blossom. To see this lovely sight 
you must live in Burma, It comes too late in the 
season for the casual visitor. 

The main lines of the plan of Rangoon have been 
preserved, and are as at first designed. But the 
past thirty years have seen many changes. In 1878, 
though there were many strangers within its borders, 
Rangoon was still a Burmese town. Now it is the 
third port in the Indian Empire,! a vast city of 

* Called after Admiral Godwin, who commanded the naval 
force in the Second War. 

t The population of Rangoon in 1881 was 134,176; in 1911 
it numbered 293,316. In 1878 its trade was valued at 
£10,484,469, as compared vnth £32,040,000 in 1911 (private 
trade alone). 



INTRODUCTORY 13 

over a quarter of a million of people, speaking a 
Pentecostal variety of tongues, among whom 
Burmans are a dwindling minority. Then the 
cantonment, no doubt of needlessly vast extent, 
occupying a wide space on every side of the pagoda, 
was like a picturesque park, studded with little 
wooden houses, each surrounded by an ample shady 
garden. Halpin Road, by some sentimentalists 
called the Ladies' Mile, with a humble but select 
gymkhana* at one end, was restricted to the use 
of the military and civil community. Now the 
gymkhana has been quadrupled in size, and far more 
than quadrupled in membership. Jehus of all races 
and classes raise the dust of Halpin Road in dog- 
carts, landaus, and motor-cars. A great modern 
hotel occupies a large space ; houses of a decadent 
type, planted as close together as suburban villas, 
have devastated the pretty cantonment ; natives 
of wealth and position live on sites once reserved 
for the sovereign race. Doubtless all these are 
signs of progress. But they shock the aesthetic 
sense. The Pegu Club was housed in Cheape Road, 
in a wooden building not long ago dismantled. On 
the Royal Lake a few boats afforded exercise and 
pastime. If your boat upset, you were fined for 
illegal bathing ; and if you scrambled back into 
your boat, you were fined for embarking elsewhere 
than at the prescribed jetty. Dalhousie Park, it 

* A Chief Commissioner, newly arrived, whose face was not 
yet famihar, was told by a barber in the town, in the course ot 
his ministration, that he should try to join the gymkhana, as that 
was the way to get into society. 



14 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

may be gratefully admitted, has been much im- 
proved, mainly by the devoted attention of the late 
Mr. John Short. It is now beyond imagination the 
home of the picturesque, its lovely lawns and wind- 
ing paths fringing the lake, with the pagoda shining 
in the middle distance. Except a few public offices, 
there were no buildings of importance. Government 
House was of wood, with a small masonry annexe, 
near the present imposing and luxurious, but hardly 
beautiful structure. A neighbouring house was 
used as a guest-house, to accommodate the overflow 
of visitors, till some years later it was sold by a 
frugal Chief The General Hospital, of wood 
saturated with generations of microbes, was then, 
and for long after, a disgrace to civilization. It 
has now been replaced by a magnificent pile, the 
best- equipped hospital in the East, one of the best- 
equipped in the world. The race-course, round the 
parade ground, was about two-thirds of its present 
size. The little race-meetings twice a year, where 
one knew all the ponies and riders, when lotteries 
were of small value and attended by one's friends 
and acquaintances, when bookmakers were unknown, 
and we did our mild gambling at the totalizator, 
were more enjoyable and more truly sporting than 
the present-day monthly meetings, where more than 
half the owners are Chinamen or Indians, and 
almost all the riders professional jockeys. In 
wealth, in luxury, in comfort, Rangoon has made 
great advances in the last thirty years. Yet I 
doubt if it is quite as pleasant a place of abode as it 
was a generation ago. 



INTRODUCTORY 15 

The outskirts of Rangoon were rustic or, as we 
say, jungly. About this time a tiger swam across 
the river from Dalla, then a mere village, and was 
shot by Mr. G. G. Collins, an Inspector of Police,* 
under a house in Godwin Road. Within the last 
ten years a similar incident occurred. One morning 
an old woman, selling cheroots on the pagoda plat- 
form, half asleep or half blind, opened her eyes, and 
saw in the dim dawn moving near her stall what 
she took to be a large cat. She waved it away, and 
it went off. It was a tiger which had strolled up 
the grassy slope of the Pagoda Hill. The pagoda 
was being regilt, and was encased in lattice-work. 
The tiger climbed half-way up the trellis and there 
stopped, till, after some ineffectual attempts, it was 
shot by an officer of the garrison. This strange 
event has an explanation. A natf came riding on 
the tiger to inspect the gilding of the pagoda. He 
rode half-way up and then dismounted, pursuing 
his journey on foot. On his return, he was much 
surprised and displeased to find that his steed had 
been killed. Some say that he was unable to 
resume his journey, and is still there. This story 
was current in Rangoon on the evening of the 
occurrence. 

* Afterwards of the Commission. 

t Nat, a spiritual being in Burmese mythology. For a full 
account of nats the curious may refer to Sir Richard Temple's 
learned and sumptuous work "The Thirty-Seven Nats." 



CHAPTER II 

EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

My personal acquaintance with Burma dates from 
January, 1878. I came to India as a Bengal 
civilian, attached to the Upper Provinces, liable 
to serve in the North- West Provinces, the Punjab, 
and Oudh. It was doubtless for that reason and 
because I had shown some aptitude for the study 
of Persian that the Government of India were 
pleased to post me to the Central Provinces, and 
then, before I had even joined at Nagpiir, to order 
me to Burma. As in those days our covenants did 
not bind us to serve elsewhere than in the Province 
of our choice, I think it likely that, after a term 
in Burma, I might have obtained a transfer to the 
North- West Provinces. However, I went to Burma 
and stayed there ; and so far as my official career 
is concerned, I do not suppose I should have done 
as weU in any other part of India. Certainly I 
should not have had elsewhere so interesting a life, 
or found so congenial a people. 

On our arrival in Rangoon, my wife and I were 
hospitably received by two residents, Mr. E. C. 
Morrieson, a man of my own year, and Mr. C. F. 

16 



EARLY YEAES AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 17 

Egerton Allen, then Government Advocate, after- 
wards acting Recorder of Rangoon, and still later 
in the House as member for Pembroke Boroughs. 
Their kindness was in accordance with the traditions 
of the country, which, I am glad to say, are still 
maintained. A comparatively new Province, in 
some respects it may be a little behind the times, 
Burma has always cherished the primitive virtues, 
conspicuously that of hospitality. Perhaps to some 
extent this is ascribable to the influence of the 
genius loci. For in the world there are no kinder 
or more hospitable people than the Burmese. The 
generous manner in which strangers are received 
may be one reason why hotels in Burma have, if 
possible, a worse repute than those of India.* 

Our first station was Bassein, one of the four 
ports of Burma, situated on a fair river some sixty 
miles from the sea, in the midst of the Delta of the 
Irrawaddy. It was then the headquarters of a 
district. Not very long afterwards it became the 
headquarters of the Irrawaddy division, carved out 
of the overworked division of Pegu. In those days 
the only approach to Bassein was by river steamer. 
Even now, though Bassein is linked with Rangoon 
by rail, the river journey is easier and pleasanter. 
Our little vessel steamed now on the broad flood 
of the main river, now through narrow winding 

* This is, however, a matter of taste. A lady told me that 
the only thing which made it worth while to come to Rangoon 
was the Strand Hotel, with its general comfort and its incompar- 
able omelette. The pagoda merely impressed her as " a messy 
place." Perhaps she was only playing upon the poor Indian's 
simplicity. 



18 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

channels, called locally " creeks," which intersect the 
delta in countless profusion. Though searchlights 
in the bows were then unknown, we ran on, by day 
and night, between densely wooded banks. Now 
and again the passage was so narrow that branches 
of trees crashed through our cabin window. Here 
and there, on the mud of a bank left bare by the 
tide, we saw crocodiles and bands of chattering 
monkeys. Except at the large villages, where we 
halted to take up and set down passengers and 
cargo, the solitude was perfect save for a few huts 
on the riverside, a casual fisherman in his dugout, 
a boat full of men and women going to market, or 
of monks (pongyis) in their yellow robes. The 
hideous sampan and the still more horrible lighter 
or barge had not yet invaded these sacred recesses. 
Such larger craft as passed us were the stately 
Burmese boats, built on graceful lines, propelled by 
sail and oar, with high carved sterns on which the 
helmsman sat aloft. Such people as we saw were 
all Burmans or Karens. The kala* was as rare as 
a black swan. 

My Deputy Commissioner was Mr. G. D. Burgess,t 
one of the first civilians deputed to Burma, of the 
same year as the late Sir Denzil Ibbetson, of 
lamented memory. Mr. C. U. Aitchison,;j: who 

* Kala is as nearly as possible barbarian, and has a connota- 
tioil of contempt. It is applied by the Burmese to all foreigners 
from the West, Indians or Europeans. A Chinaman is a cousin, 
so is a Siamese. Neither of these is a kala. 

t The late Mr. G. D. Burgess, C.S.I. 

I The late Sir Charles Aitchison, K. C.S.I. , successively 
Member of Council and Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 19 

succeeded Mr. Rivers Thompson as Chief Com- 
raissioner early in 1878, visited Bassein this year 
in the course of a tour in the old Government 
steamer, the Irrawaddy. Recognizing Mr. Burgess's 
rare ability, he called him to Rangoon soon after- 
wards to act as secretary in place of Major Street, 
who went on leave. This was exceptional promotion 
for a man of about eight years' service. Mr. Burgess 
was a man of great capacity, of untiring industry, 
of immense power of work, of exceptional mastery 
of detail, of singularly sane judgment, one whose 
opinion, as Mr. Aitchison said, was always worthy 
of consideration. For several years he worked in 
the secretariat, afterwards did excellent service as 
Commissioner at Mandalay and elsewhere, and in 
due course became Judicial Commissioner of Upper 
Burma. In that high office he had full scope for 
his industry and sound judgment. His rulings, 
especially on points of Buddhist law, illuminated 
many dark places, and are still cited with respect. 
Mr. Burgess's health was undermined by excessive 
work in the secretariat. In 1898 he had to take 
leave, and, by a melancholy accident, died at sea 
on his way home. He was one of the ablest officers 
who ever served in Burma, and, if his health had 
not failed, must have risen to the highest posts. 
If he had a fault officially, it was a tendency to 
interfere too much in detail and to do the work of 
his subordinates. No doubt, as Mr. Aitchison used 
to say, and as others have often said, the great 
administrator is he who does his own duty and sees 
that those under him do theirs. But the defect I 



20 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

have ventured to note is the defect of a generous 
quality. 

In those days the education of junior civilians 
was left to take care of itself There was no Land 
Records Department and there were no elaborate 
circulars prescribing a course of training. What 
sort of training a junior officer enjoyed, or whether 
he had any training at all, depended entirely on the 
quality of his first Deputy Commissioner. I need 
hardly say that I regard as preferable the present 
system, under which every young officer is passed 
through a definite course of practical instruction in 
all branches of his work. But even now a great 
deal depends on the personality of the Deputy 
Commissioner. It was my good -fortune to begin 
my service under the guidance of an excellent 
officer and a high-minded, great-hearted gentleman. 
Never had green griffin a kindlier or abler mentor. 
And to the end of his life Mr. Burgess treated me 
with the kindness of an elder brother. I was 
placed in charge of the Treasury ; given Third Class 
magisterial powers, that is, power to imprison for 
one month, fine up to fifty rupees, and, such was 
the barbaric darkness of that age, to whip ; and 
set to try petty criminal cases, learn Burmese, and 
prepare for the departmental examinations. I con- 
fess that I had a charmingly idle time. In those 
happy days life was not in the least strenuous. 
The busiest time was when the head accountant 
went sick for about a month, and I had to do his 
work as well as my own. In this way I did 
thoroughly learn the Treasury system, even if I 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 21 

forgot it afterwards. The zeal of youth betrayed 
me into a somewhat serious blunder, whereby I 
incurred the formal censure of Government. This, 
though recorded, was never ofl&cially communicated 
to me, and does not seem to have done me any 
harm. I cannot call to mind anything amusing or 
interesting in the court or ojBfice work. If there are 
tales, others must tell them. It was not in Bassein 
that a Third Class Magistrate sentenced a cattle - 
thief to imprisonment for one week, the normal 
sentence then, and, I hope, now being one of two 
years' hard labour. Called upon for justification, 
he gravely explained that he had to observe some 
measure in his sentences. If he gave a man a whole 
month for cattle-theft, what sentence could he pass 
if he convicted a man of murder ? Nor was it here 
that a young magistrate fined a woman Rs. 10, 
or in default rigorous imprisonment for two years. 
It was elsewhere that an officer fined his own 
servant judicially for " spoiling the Court's soup " 
by using an oily cloth to wipe the plates withal. 
These stories, current in Burma long ago, are 
possibly all invented. Similarly mythical, I sus- 
pect, are the legends of the young civilian who 
gratefully accepted advice not to try a long shot, 
lest he should strain the gun ; of another who on 
the voyage out kept under his pillow a revolver 
wrapped in paper and labelled " Dangerous " ; of a 
third who was persuaded to rise at mess, as the 
representative of Government, and forestall the 
President in announcing the toast of "The Queen." 
But many years later, with my own ears, I heard 



22 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BURMA 

the health of Her Majesty proposed, " coupled with 

the name of General ," and the gallant General 

respond on behalf of his Sovereign. 

Bassein was a charming station, with that mingling 
of non-official and official society which doth ever 
add pleasure. The great rice firms, Messrs. Bulloch 
Bros., Messrs. Strang Steel and Co., Messrs. Mohr 
Bros., and others, had mills on either side of the 
river, and the presence of their representatives 
helped to form a festive and sociable community. 
We were all young and all cheerful. Though there 
was no club, we managed to meet and enjoy life. 
Besides an inchoate attempt at polo, then just 
coming into vogue, riding in the fields and jungle, 
and playing lawn tennis, were the principal amuse- 
ments. Golf had not been introduced. I am afraid 
ladies had rather a quiet time, for dances were of 
very rare occurrence. But bachelor frolics were 
many, and the spectacled Deputy Commissioner 
who looked grave enough on the Bench was leader 
in every frivolity. His Saturday night whist dinners 
were often more hilarious than the occasion indi- 
cates. I refrain from recording instances of light- 
hearted jests perpetrated from time to time, partly 
because they were too trivial for immortality, partly 
lest the serious reader think us more childish-foolish 
than we were. The survivors of those joyous days 
will call to mind many a noisy revel. No harm was 
done. Mr. Kipling would have found no copy for 
the mildest of plain tales. 

There were reminders of historic times. One of 
the Public Works officers was a veteran who had 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 23 

fought at Chillianwallah. Another resident had 
learnt his work under Brunei. Less pleasing 
relics of the past were a few old men branded 
on the forehead and sent into transportation 
from India. Some, but not all, were mutineers. 
They were not in confinement, but eked out a 
wretched existence on two or three pence a day. 

I saw something of district life. More than once 
the Deputy - Commissioner took me on tour with 
him, and I had opportunities of learning methods 
of sound administration. The Deputy Commissioner 
was the head of the district, and, as already stated, 
controlled all except the purely Imperial depart- 
ments. Even over Forests, Public Works, and 
Education he exercised paternal sway. He was 
explicitly declared to be the head of the police. 
And he was the chief executive officer, with as 
much influence as his personality secured. He 
cherished his own District Fund, his pet child, and 
had a fair amount of money to spend on minor 
works. Often he was his own road-maker. As 
District Magistrate, with power to try all but 
capital offences and impose substantial penalties, 
and as District Judge, with unlimited original civil 
jurisdiction and wide appellate powers, he directed 
the judicial administration. 

He constantly travelled slowly through the dis- 
trict, and was personally known to all the people. 
In most districts the volume of work was not 
beyond the capacity of an able and energetic officer. 
We in Bassein were fortunate in possessing the 
ablest Deputy Commissioner in the Province, and the 



24 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

district flourished under his benign and firm rule. 
It was an invaluable object-lesson to accompany 
Mr. Burgess on tour and mark his procedure. 
Always accessible to the humblest villager, yet 
strict in upholding the authority of his subordinates, 
Myo-6ks and Thugyis ; halting here and there to 
investigate disputes in revenue matters, to hear 
complaints, to try cases ; treating the local officials 
with kindness and consideration, while preserving 
his place and dignity ; inspecting village records ; 
checking capitation tax returns and land revenue 
rolls ; visiting fields on which remission of revenue 
was claimed ; taking a day off now and then to shoot 
snipe ; the Deputy Commissioner's progress tended 
to the happiness of the people and the peace of the 
countryside. I have no doubt that this was the 
best system of administration ever devised or prac- 
tised. The separation of judicial and executive 
functions, the curtailment of the Deputy Commis- 
sioner's powers, the attempt, happily so far not 
successful in Burma, to diminish his authority over 
the police and his responsibility for peace and order, 
are aU steps backward ; to vary the metaphor, they 
are solvents which will gradually destroy the vitality 
of the administration and weaken the foundations of 
good government laid by our predecessors. I have 
no right to speak of other provinces of India. In 
Burma there is a comparatively simple social organiza- ' 
tion. "With a strong feeling of personal independence 
and a full measure of self-respect, the people looked 
up to the officials and recognized that they were 
better off under authority than if they attempted to 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 25 

govern themselves. Above all, they knew that in 
the last resort they could rely on the justice and 
firmness of British officers. Under this system the 
moral and material welfare of the peasant and 
trader was promoted far more surely than by the 
introduction of Western methods unsuited to the 
idiosyncrasy of the race. Nor does this proposition 
preclude Burmans from obtaining by degrees an 
ever-increasing share in the offices of the adminis- 
tration. As qualified men become available, by all 
means let them undertake higher duties. But do 
not let us try prematurely to impose representative 
institutions on people who neither demand nor 
understand them. Above all, let us avoid the 
pernicious cant of thinking that our mission in 
Burma is the political education of the masses. 
Our mission is to conserve, not to destroy, their 
social organism ; to preserve the best elements of 
their national life ; by the maintenance of peace and 
order to advance the well-being of the Burmese 
people. 

At Bassein, in town and district, I first saw 
Burmans at home, and laid the foundations of many 
lasting friendships. My first , two clerks were 
Maung Pe,* and Maung Aung Zan. One has long 
been the respected Second Judge of the Small Cause 
Court in Rangoon, the Aristides of his race ; the 
other is the first Burman District Judge. A well- 
known character was U Bya, the Judge of the 
Bassein Small Cause Court, an officer of age and 
dignity, who, it was said, had raised himself to his 
* Maung Pe, I.S.O., K.S.M. 



26 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

honourable rank from the humble position of peon 
in the Treasury. Although contact with foreigners 
had to some extent begun to affect the Burmese 
character, it must be remembered that the time of 
which I write was only twenty-five years after 
the taking of Rangoon, a shorter period than has 
now elapsed since the occupation of Mandalay. 
Even in Pegu the Burman was far less sophisticated 
than he has become in recent years. The great 
rice-plains of the delta were not nearly all under 
cultivation. The farmer worked his own moderate 
holding with the help of his family and of reapers 
who came down annually from Upper Burma. The 
inroad of coolies and settlers from Madras and 
Bengal not yet begun. The delta was sparsely 
peopled, and everyone was happy and contented. 

After leaving Bassein, I spent a few weeks in 
Rangoon as personal assistant to the Chief Commis- 
sioner. The personal assistant combined the posts 
of private secretary and aide-de-camp, without the 
emoluments, and with only part of the work of those 
offices. Under Mr. Aitchison's tolerant regime, 
the duties were extremely light, and consisted 
mainly in ciphering and deciphering telegrams. 
By him and by Mrs. (now Lady) Aitchison, we 
were treated with unvarying kindness. The days 
spent as members of their official family are days 
of happy memory. Mr. Aitchison was one of the 
first batch of competition walas, and was rightly 
regarded as a distinguished ornament of our service. 
At a very early stage in his career he became 
Foreign Secretary to the Government of India. 



EAELY YEAES AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 27 

That high office he exchanged for the comparative 
obscurity of Burma, only because he differed from 
the Viceroy (Lord Lytton) on points of frontier 
pohcy. He was a man of exceptional ability, of 
resolute character, with the most delicate sense of 
honour, a chief whom it was a pride and pleasure 
to serve. The Governor-General being his own 
Foreign Minister, Mr. Aitchison had been brought 
into close personal relations with every Viceroy* 
who, up to that time, had held office. In his 
judgment, among these statesmen, the man of 
genius, the one who got most quickly to the root of 
a difficult problem, was Lord Lytton. As the two 
men were by no means sympathetic, this opinion is 
of special value. 

We came to Rangoon early in 1879, at a time of 
great excitement. The preceding October had seen 
the death of Minddn Min, who ruled the Burmese 
kingdom for more than five-and-twenty years. 
King Mind6n, or Min-taya-gyi Paya, was an en- 
lightened monarch, worthy to be placed in the 
same class, though not side by side, with Solomon 
and Akbar. He wrested the throne from his in- 
capable brother. Pagan Min, whose headstrong folly 
had involved his country in the Second Burmese 
War. With rare magnanimity, he neither slew 
nor blinded the deposed King, but allowed him 
to live in peace in his own house for the rest of his 
days. Indeed, Pagan Min survived his successor. 

* The first Viceroy was Lord Canning. Many people errone- 
ously think that Clive or, perhaps, Warren Hastings was the first 
who attained that dignity. 



28 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Minddn Min was an able administrator, and quite 
master of his kingdom. He held in his own hands 
all the threads of government, and kept himself 
informed of all that happened even in the remotest 
corners. Peace and order were reasonably well 
maintained, and projects for developing the resources 
of the country were initiated. The teak forests 
were opened out by English firms. Many Europeans, 
principally French and Italian, were attracted to 
his Court, and employed in various capacities. 
Among other reforms may be mentioned the levy of 
regular taxation on land and incomes, and the pay- 
ment of salaries to officials. The practice had been 
for an official to be placed in charge of a local area, 
which he was expressively said to " eat." After 
paying his dues to Government, he squeezed as 
much as possible for himself. In this reign, though 
the custom was not abolished, its prevalence was 
restricted. The King was a very pious Buddhist, a 
generous benefactor of the pagoda at Rangoon, and 
a steadfast pillar of his religion. He discouraged 
the taking of life, the use of opium, the consumption 
of intoxicating liquors. Like Solomon in wisdom, 
he rivalled him in the number of his wives. Although 
he declined to make a treaty ceding any part of his 
dominions to Great Britain, he respected the frontier- 
line laid down by Lord Dalhousie, he kept on good 
terms with our Government in Lower Burma, and 
he had the good sense highly to appreciate Sir 
Arthur Phayre. So long as he ruled in Mandalay, 
there was no likelihood of any expansion of British 
territory at his cost. 



EAELY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 29 

The death of Mind6n Min threw the whole of 
Upper Burma into confusion. By a palace intrigue, 
in which the principal actors were Queen Sinbyu- 
mashin and the Taingda Mingy i,* the Thebaw 
Mintha,! was placed on the throne. King Thebaw 
was about eighteen years of age. He seems to 
have been a dull youth, of no character, good or 
bad. The beginning of his rule was stained by the 
murder of most of the sons of Mindon Min, a 
massacre as ruthless and almost as many-headed as 
the slaughter of the sons of Ahab. Though the 
Princesses were not killed, they were consigned to 
captivity. Of the massacre of the Princes, two 
extreme views have been held. The young King 
has been represented as a monster of cruelty, him- 
self personally responsible for this atrocity. The 
cynical suggestion is that, in Burma as in other 
Oriental countries, it was a measure of ordinary 
precaution for the King to remove possible rivals 
and pretenders ; in so doing, Thebaw was no worse 
than his predecessors. As a matter of fact, most 
likely neither the King nor his much -maligned 
Queen had much to do with the massacre. It 
was, no doubt, the work of his Ministers, chiefly of 
the blood-stained Taingda Mingyi, a name to all 
succeeding ages cursed. But it is also the case that 
this wholesale butchery, though not without prece- 
dent, was not in accordance with the practice of 
Burman Kings, at least, in recent years. Certainly 

* Mingyi, one of the four principal ministers. Literally^ 
great lord. * 

t Mintha, prince. 



30 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

no such deluge of blood sullied the opening days of 
King Mindon. The probable explanation is that 
the title of the new King was felt to be precarious, 
while his personality did not compensate the in- 
security of his claim. He was not the eldest, nor 
the ablest, nor the most popular, of Mindon Min's 
sons. For these reasons, I conjecture, some of the 
Ministers thought it desirable to remove potential 
centres of revolt and disaffection. I cannot believe 
that my learned and mild-tempered friend, the 
Kinwun Mingyi, though nominally the head of the 
State Council, approved this savage measure. The 
stories current at the time, of the King priming 
himself with drink, and personally directing the 
slaughter, were certainly false. It is true, however, 
that in the early days of his reign King Thebaw 
was much under the influence of a titular Prince, 
Maung T&k,* and that these two boon companions 
did hold drunken orgies together. After Maung 
Tok's removal there is no record of intemperance in 
the Palace. 

The massacre of the sons of Mindon Min sent a 
thrill of horror through the civilized world. Our 
Resident at Mandalay, Mr. R. B. Shaw, entered 
vehement protests. He also sheltered two Princes, 
the Nyaung-yan and Nyaung-6k Minthas, who 
were, I understand, brought to the Residency by 
M. d'Av^ra, and whose lives were saved by their 
despatch to Lower Burma and thence to Calcutta. 
In Rangoon the Press and public were loud in con- 
demnation, and clamorous for action. In the interests 
* See p. 126. 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 31 

of humanity and civilization the Indian Government 
were urgently pressed to intervene. They nearly 
did so. Preparations for the despatch of troops 
were begun. One regiment, the 43rd Light Infantry, 
actually came over from Madras, in hot haste and 
with the barest camp kit, and was sent to the 
frontier. All its officers expected to be in Mandalay 
in a fortnight, and sore was the indignation of the 
British regiment in Rangoon that these new-comers 
should go to the front while it remained in canton- 
ments. The Rangoon Regiment had its consolation. 
For all their term in Burma the 43rd stayed on the 
frontier, and never put a foot across it. The Govern- 
ment of India were fully occupied with troubles in 
Afghanistan, which some few months later cul- 
minated in the murder of Sir Louis Cavagnari at 
Cabul. At home, Ministers were staggered by the 
disaster of Isandhlwana in February of this year. 
Both Governments had their hands too full to find 
leisure for upholding the cause of humanity in Upper 
Burma. It was a very near thing. Had there not 
been pressing affairs elsewhere, we should doubtless 
have occupied Mandalay, and almost certainly set 
up a protected King. The time was ripe for inter- 
vention, but not for annexation. 

At Government House we were kept moderately 
busy by telegrams with Mandalay and Calcutta. 
One fine morning the Nyaung-yan Prince appeared, 
with the design of attempting (to speak proleptically) 
a Jameson raid on Upper Burma. The secret history 
of this incident I may not tell. Let it suffice to say 
that the Prince was sent back to Calcutta with all 



32 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

speed in a Government ship. To soothe public feel- 
ing in Rangoon a Press communique was issued from 
the Secretariat, informing the world that in respect 
of Upper Burma the attitude of the Government of 
India was one of " repose and defence," a phrase 
which was received with mingled surprise and 
derision. The explanation I may perhaps disclose 
after many years. The telegram of the Government 
of India authorizing the announcement was sig- 
nalled, or at any rate transcribed by me, in the 
words given to the Press. But what the Govern- 
ment of India wrote was that their attitude was one 
of " reserve and defence." Curiously and perhaps 
somewhat ingenuously the Rangoon Volunteer Rifles 
adopted, and for many years retained, as their 
motto the words " Repose and Defence." Of late 
they have become more energetic, and this motto 
has been discarded as inappropriate. 

Government House maintained the hospitable 
traditions of the Province. All the officers of the 
43rd were entertained and housed during their very 
brief stay in Rangoon, and, though tourists were 
fewer than in later years, we had some visitors. Of 
these the most distinguished was General Ulysses 
Grant, ex- President of the United States, who in 
his voyage round the world touched at Rangoon. 
With him came Mrs. Grant, their son Colonel Grant, 
a Cabinet Minister, a doctor, and a man of letters. 
General Grant seemed to me to talk, in moderation, 
as much as other people. I had the honour of being 
instructed by him in the mysteries of the constitu- 
tion of the United States, and even of discussing 



EARLY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 33 

with him the possibility of a League of Anglo-Saxon 
Peoples to impose peace on the world. He impressed 
us all as a man of strength, dignity, and character. 
The growing port and city of Rangoon interested 
him, and he foresaw and foretold its early and rapid 
increase. May I tell here a trivial story ? At a 
reception at Government House in honour of General 
Grant, whereat all Rangoon was present, one of the 
highest officers brought down the house by with- 
drawing a chair on which the Commissioner of Pegu 
was about to sit. As the Commissioner weighed 
about twenty stone, he was somewhat seriously 
annoyed by this frolic, though not, I am glad to 
say, hurt. I record the incident, and refrain from 
moralizing. 

Though wealth has increased and the standard of 
living has been raised, there seems to have been 
more money to spend in Rangoon in those days. 
The great merchants vied with Government House 
in their entertainments. One at least left a lasting 
impression. More than twenty years after I tried 
in vain for some time to explain to my old native 
coachman where he was to drive. At last my 
meaning dawned on him. "You want to go to 
Leishmann Sahib's house." Now, Leishmann Sahib 
had opened his doors to General Grant, and about a 
year later had left Rangoon for ever. Rice and teak 
were the sole sources of wealth. The oil-fields were 
as yet unexplored. The price of rice had not risen 
to its recent fictitious height. There were no 
limited companies with opportunities for unlimited 
speculation. 



34 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

About this time the Diocese of Rangoon was 
constituted, and Dr. J. H. Titcomb was consecrated 
the first Bishop. Coming straight from England, 
with no knowledge of the East, Bishop Titcomb's 
inexperience betrayed him into some pardonable 
mistakes. Very soon after his arrival, he surprised 
some friends with words to this effect ; " Though I 
have been here such a short time, I regret to say 
that already sorrow has visited my household. I 
have had to give my cook a week's leave to bury his 
grandmother." For a cook to ask leave to attend 
his grandmother's funeral is much the same as for 
an undergraduate to prefer a similar request in 
Derby week. I mean no disrespect to a good man's 
memory by telling this innocent story. The Bishop 
won all hearts by his kind and gentle bearing, and 
was, I am sure, an excellent occupant of the new 
See. He was the first Prelate with whom I was 
privileged to play lawn-tennis. 

A little earlier had been tried the eccentric ex- 
periment of appointing a Forest Officer to the 
charge of the Education Department in the tem- 
porary absence of the Director. The acting Director 
played the part of Balaam with a difference. In his 
first and last Annual Report, instead of blessing, he 
freely cursed the Department and all its works. 
Mr. Max Ferrars still flourishes. He has returned 
to his early love, and professes literature at a German 
University. He will forgive me for exhuming this 
early incident of his career. The Education Depart- 
ment, from time to time, has incurred much obloquy, 
for the most part undeserved. Its errors have been 



EAELY YEARS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 35 

due to want of intimate knowledge of the language 
and customs of the people. Certainly it has never 
merited the cynical censure, perhaps unwittingly 
implied in a Government Resolution which, in re- 
moving an officer as an incorrigible drunkard, 
remarked that he might obtain employment in the 
Education Department. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FIRST SUBDIVISION: THE SECRETARIAT 

My first subdivision was Pantanaw in the Delta of 
the Irrawaddy. The town from which it was named 
stands on a narrow creek through which used to 
pass the steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company 
plying between Rangoon and Bassein. Long since 
the mouth of the creek has silted up. When next 
I visited Pantanaw, as Commissioner, I had to 
approach the town in a smaU boat of the shallowest 
draft. But, in '79, the arrival of the Bassein steamer 
was the event of the week. Pantanaw is said to be 
a Talaing (and portmanteau) word meaning " The 
abode of the people who have to use mosquito nets." 
If the Burma Research Society correct this state- 
ment, I must bear it. At any rate, if the etymology 
is false, the connotation is true. Burma could show 
places where mosquitoes were more numerous and 
more valiant, where even cattle had to be put under 
nets at night and prisoners in jail protected by iron 
gratings. But the mosquitoes of Pantanaw were 
plentiful and brave enough. After a short time 
one seems to become more or less immune against 
ordinary mosquito bites. The new-comer is more 

36 



THE FIRST SUBDIVISION 37 

succulent and more attractive to this friendly insect. 
It is the song of the creature which is a persistent 
annoyance. But the mosquito of these parts has no 
curious taste. To the last he bit me as well as sang 
in my ears. In those days the local mosquito ap- 
parently was not of the kind which carries malaria. 
Or perhaps, owing to the backward state of sanitary 
education, he had not yet learned his trade. Cholera 
and smallpox excepted, the delta was comparatively 
free from serious diseases. Though swampy and 
water-logged, it was not beset by malignant fevers. 
Our house was humble. In accordance with the 
usage of the time, it was built on piles, so that the 
rooms were 8 or 10 feet above the ground. Thus 
we lived well out of the mud and out of reach of 
snakes. An open, slippery, wooden stair ascended 
to the doorway. The walls were of mat, and the 
roof was of thatch. I am willing to believe that 
there was a plank floor, though I have a vague 
impression that we trod on split bamboos. The 
house consisted of one fairly large room, divided 
into two by a mat partition reaching nearly to the 
unceiled roof. One part was the bedroom, with a 
bathroom attached, the other was a combined dining- 
and drawing-room. Tacked on was one more room, 
about the size of a three-berth cabin. This was the 
study or library. Having mosquito netting over 
door and windows, it was habitable even after 
sunset. During our sojourn, Government very 
kindly began to build a nice new house for us. It 
was our Promised Land, of which we had but 
a Pisgah-sight. We watched its progress with 



38 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

interest, often visiting the work and suggesting 
small improvements. We were transferred about 
a week before it was finished. I slept in it once, 
twenty years after. 

Pantanaw was a depot for Ngapi, that malodorous 
compound of decayed fish in which Burmans delight. 
The public buildings were a courthouse with a 
police-station hard by, a hospital, a schoolhouse, 
and a bazaar, or market. The rest of the town 
consisted of native houses of fishermen, traders, and 
brokers. In the dry weather, the foreshore was 
covered with huts. Bitter and ceaseless were the 
disputes between brokers and traders about claims 
to hut-sites on the sands. The streets were cause- 
ways of loose bricks. Except through the town 
itself, we had one walk, over one of these brick 
paths to the Burmese cemetery. The whole sub- 
division supported one pony. He lived in ease and 
affluence, as you could not ride for half a mile 
without coming upon an impassable stream. We 
were the only European inhabitants. Two other 
people spoke English, a Jew shopkeeper named 
Cohen, whom Burmans, not holding him in high 
respect, preferred to call Maung Hein,* and an 
Arakanese schoolmaster, with whom I maintained 
an intermittent acquaintance to the end of my 
service. Our nearest English neighbours were the 
subdivisional officer of Yandoon and his wife, who 
on one red-letter day paid us a flying visit. Our 
medical attendant was an Indian hospital assistant, 

* There is a subtlety here. Ko is one of the Burmese equiva- 
lents of Mr., more respectful than Maung. 



THE FIRST SUBDIVISION 39 

or as now he would be called more appropriately, 
Sub-assistant surgeon, a very capable, good man. 
The civil surgeon lived at Maubin, the district head- 
quarters, a day's journey off. To young civilians of 
the present time, this would seem an impossible 
place for a man with a wife and child. We enjoyed 
life and were happy. The experience was of use to 
me, years afterwards, as secretary, when young 
officers complained of their posting by the Chief 
Commissioner to-T^emote and unpopular stations. 
Even the young wife could not be played with 
effect. But I believe I got myself disliked. 

My official colleague was the subdivisional police 
officer, Maung Shwe 0, Inspector, afterwards 
Assistant Superintendent. He was a very smart, 
good-looking man, whose subsequent career was 
distinguished. I maintained friendly relations with 
him as long as I stayed in Burma. The clerks in 
my joffice were Burmans, who spoke and wrote only 
Burjmese. Very capable and efficient were many 
of ihese vernacular clerks, thoroughly versed in 
office routine and management, and well educated 
in their own language. My head clerk, Maung 
Shwe Tha, was a man of presence and dignity, 
with, it was said, a trace of French blood in his 
veins. The Circle Thugyi still, I hope, survives 
in honoured retirement. His son became one of 
the most useful members of the Provincial Service. 
The subdivision was of very large extent. Com- 
prising the townships of Pantanaw and Shwelaung, 
it stretched past Kyunpyathat to the sea. At 
Shwelaung there was a Myo-6k, but at Pantanaw 



40 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

I was my own township pfficer. I had to try all 
civil and criminal cases, to copy English corre- 
spondence, and to do the revenue and executive 
work of the township. Though during my year 
at Pantanaw I had only second class powers 
as a magistrate, still, without a Myo-6k at head- 
quarters, and with aU these various duties, it might 
he supposed that I was grossly overworked. On 
the contrary, I had an easier time there than ever 
after fell to my lot. Still young and zealous, I 
believe I did all there was to be done. But I found 
time to be on tour about half of every month, while 
in the cold weather I spent more than a solid month 
in the jungle, walking over rice-fields, inspecting, 
measuring, and computing the out-turn of every 
holding in respect of which remission of revenue was 
claimed. As there had been a somewhat widespread 
failure of the rice crop, this was a task of some 
magnitude. The development of the country and 
the growth of work are impressed on me by nothing 
so much as by a comparison between the Pantanaw 
subdivision in 1879-80 and the same area in the 
present day. Then, with the help of one not very 
efficient Burmese Myo-6k, I did all the work of the 
subdivision with ease. Now that area is a large 
part of the Ma-u-bin and Myaung-mya districts. 
It occupies half the time of a Deputy Commissioner 
and District Judge, and half the time of one or two 
subdivisional officers, who break down in succession 
from overwork, four or five township officers, and 
several judicial and additional Myo-6ks. The 
Shwelaung Township is now the Wakema Sub- 



THE FIRST SUBDIVISION 41 

division, one of the most laborious charges in the 
Province. A very small, obscure, and swampy 
village was Mawlamyainggyun, now the head- 
quarters of a township, and one of the most flourish- 
ing towns in the Delta. I have always cherished 
the belief that I was the first European ofl&cial to 
discover it. 

In those days and in that part of the country 
there was a remarkable absence of serious crime. 
During my year at Pantanaw one murder was 
committed and one dacoity was reported. Of the 
dacoity I made a full meal. The report reached 
me when on tour in the middle of the rains. Off 
I went in a small open dugout to make an 
investigation on the spot. Arriving, drenched to 
the bones, with no kit, I held the inquiry, clad 
in a bath towel, reclining in the balcony of a 
Burmese hut, partly sheltered by a mat-wall. I 
fared sumptuously on boiled eggs, rice, and jaggery 
(palm sugar), fare, which I commend, as, if not 
noble, yet enough. A mat on a plank floor was 
a sufficient sleeping-place. I never found any diffi- 
culty in sleeping on boards. The really hard bed 
is the bosom of mother earth with too scanty an 
allowance of straw. The report of the dacoity was 
false. 

At Pantanaw I learned to talk Burmese with 
fluency, if not with accuracy, and to read it with 
ease. I had to talk it or be silent half my days. 
And all office work had to be done in the vernacular. 
But too early and too long a stay in the Secretariat 
and constitutional indolence prevented me from 



42 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

acquiring a profound or scholarly knowledge of the 
language. Up to a certain point Burmese does not 
seem to me abnormally difl&cult. The written 
character, though at first sight it looks impossible, 
is much easier than, for example, Urdu script. 
But the attainment of real proficiency is a laborious 
task. The want of good literature is a discourage- 
ment at the outset. For, as a literary medium, 
Burmese is singularly defective. According to one 
of the best authorities, the high-water mark of 
Burmese prose is reached in the State papers of the 
Hlut-daw.* As if one should seek for models of 
prose in Blue-Books. A wealth of idioms, a chaotic 
grammar, "I" a variety of delicate accents, combine to 
bewilder the student. Notwithstanding these draw- 
backs, most of our officers have a good knowledge of 
the spoken and written language, and some are 
finished scholars. One thing all can do : aU can 
read petitions and other vernacular papers, and are 
less in the hands of clerks than officers are under- 
stood to be in other Provinces. 

Here, too, I had opportunities of learning in 
practice something about two of the main sources of 
revenue, land and fisheries. Though the Land and 
Revenue Act, recently brought into operation, is 
not the most lucid of statutes, the land-revenue 
system is free from complexity. Its chief merits 
were sweetness and simplicity 4 as an ingenious 

* Council of State at Mandalay. 

t As to grammar. Latter helped us in those early years. 
Students of to-day, more fortunate, have the invaluable help of 
Mr. Bridges' book. 

I What it really wrote was " clearness and simplicity." 



THE FIEST SUBDIVISION 43 

printer tried to make the Burma Government plead 
for its transliteration scheme. The State was the 
landlord. It was, then, an article of faith that there 
were no tenants in Burma, that every man culti- 
vated his own moderate holding. Though not liter- 
ally, this was for a long time approximately true. 
In the Delta land was to be had in abundance, and 
Burmans and Karens for the most part cultivated 
their own farms. A constant and sufficient rainfall 
and a fertile soil combined to yield a rich harvest. 
Regular settlements were not begun till a year or 
two later. Meanwhile the rates of land revenue 
were absurdly low. Each holding was supposed to 
be measured yearly by the Circle Thugyi, who had 
no training in surveying. The Thugyi gathered in 
the revenue of his Circle and received a liberal com- 
mission on the collections. If crops failed or were 
destroyed by drought, floods, or rats, generous 
remissions of revenue were granted after inspection 
by the subdivisional or township officer, or, where 
large sums were involved, by the Deputy Commis- 
sioner himself. When I hear urged against the 
proposed nationalization of land the consideration 
that the State would be an austere landlord, 
requiring its dues each year without pity or indul- 
gence, I cannot help remembering that it was far 
otherwise in Burma. It may be, however, that in 
other countries the system would not be worked by 
a Service whose members from their youth up are 
trained to sympathize with the people, to regard as 
their title to respect the name of the cherisher of 
the poor. Besides land revenue, the only tax paid 



A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

the cultivator was capitation tax. This was 
d by all sorts and conditions of men, except the 
id and infirm, at the rate of Rs. 5 for a married 
a, and Rs. 2/8 for a bachelor. It was a crude 
I unscientific tax, falling equally on rich and 
r. But it was a light burden, and crushed no 
. The standard of living among Burmans and 
reus in the Delta was moderately high. Luxuries 
■e few, but comforts were universal. Walking 
r miles of rice-fields in familiar talk with Thugyis 
[ farmers, I became acquainted with the condi- 
is of the cultivators, and I laid the foundation of 
.ing esteem and affection for the people, 
dy subdivision included many of the great 
eries of the Delta. All the streams and creeks 
•e divided into fisheries, which were sold by 
tion once a year. The Court House would be 
id with bidders, all fishermen, and the bidding 
! often reckless. The large fisheries sold for 
stantial sums, the total annual revenue being 
ut five lakhs of rupees. Inspection of fisheries 
[ examination of the methods of working were 
mg the subdi visional officer's duties. Fishermen 
troy living creatures, and by good Buddhists are 
i to be children of perdition. But they enjoy 
, regardless of the doom in store. A visit to one 
bhe great fishing villages was an agreeable inci- 
t, pleasantly varying the monotony of official 
tine. The whole village turned out in boats to 
come us. Boats paddled by girls in bright 
ire, carrying troupes of dancers gracefully pos- 
ng, crowded the stream in picturesque profusion. 



THE FIEST SUBDIVISION 45 

Races between canoes filled with crowds of shouting 
paddlers went on throughout the day. At night 
would be presented a pwe, or many pwes. Pwe is 
one of the hardest worked of Burmese words, and 
represents perhaps the most characteristic feature of 
the country. In its best-known sense it means an 
entertainment, usually dramatic, or of the nature of 
a ballet. But a race also is a pwe, and so, singularly 
enough, is an examination or a Durbar. The legiti- 
mate drama is a puppet-show, the dolls being 
cleverly worked by strings from behind the stage, 
and the dialogue hoarsely recited by the manipulator 
with hardly an attempt at ventriloquial effect. Less 
highly esteemed by Burmese connoisseurs is a drama 
played by real actors and actresses. The stock 
characters are the prince, the princess, and the 
clown. The princess, unabashed, arranges her hair, 
makes up her cheeks and eyebrows, and even 
manages to change her dress in view of the assembly. 
The clown, by boisterous and often indecorous jest, 
raises peals of merriment. The ballet pwe is a set 
of posture dances, performed either by one, two, or 
three girls, or by groups, generally of girls, some- 
times of young boys. Dancing is accompanied by 
choric songs, often topically composed for the occa- 
sion. If distinguished visitors are present, the 
choral song is written to honour and welcome them. 
The orchestra consists of drums, gongs, cymbals, 
and other barbarous instruments placed in a circle 
round the agUe executant. In bygone days no 
charge was made for admission. That was an 
essential condition. Now I hear with horror of so- 



A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

ed pwes played in enclosures where money is 
en at the door. A pwfe lasted for hours. Almost 
iriably it was performed in the open air, under 

moonlit sky, the spectators, men, women, chil- 
n, and babies, sitting on mats, smoking cheroots, 
hralled from dusk to dawn. For my part I liked 
t the ballet, danced by groups of young girls, 
ighters of the town or village, and after that 

drama played by human actors and actresses. 
b I must admit that in a puppet-show the comic 
ite horse gaily prancing over the boards was 
joy which never failed. During my year at 
atanaw I was a welcome guest at many pwes, 
le of which I attended with greater pleasure 
tn a ballet danced by the girls of a large fishing 
age. 

yi our travelling was by water. There was not 
iteam-launch in the Delta. Even the Deputy 
tnmissioner did all his journeys in a rice-boat. 
3h a luxury as a houseboat had not been designed 
in in a vision. An officer going on tour hired a 
'ly large boat with three or four rowers, and with 
helmsman (penin) perched aloft in the stern, 
ten one had the same boat and crew for successive 
rneys. My pet pfenin was a man of authority 
7za) and presence, traditionally reputed to be an 
dacoit. I hope he did not relapse in the troubles 
ich came a few years later. The forepart of the 
it was for the crew and servants. The after-deck, 
'^ered by an arched roof of bamboo, formed a 
imber sufficiently roomy wherein was space to sit 
lie but not to stand upright. Privacy was 



THE FIRST SUBDIVISION 47 

secured by arrangements of kalagas (curtains). In 
such a boat I travelled for a week, a fortnight, a 
month at a time, halting at infrequent villages, 
interviewing headmen and Thugyis, trying cases, 
and doing revenue and executive work. As a rule 
I travelled alone, always unarmed and without a 
guard. No precautions were needed in that time of 
profound peace, when we felt, and were, secure from 
danger. Propelled by long oars, the boat moved 
generally with the tide. But I have known 
Burmans row with, and against, the tide for hours 
at a stretch, a fact which may surprise people taught 
to regard the Burman as an idle fellow. He is 
neither idle nor lazy. When occasion demands, he 
will work as hard as anyone. The farmer and fisher- 
man each has seasons when he must rise up early 
and late take his rest. What the Burman does not 
care to do is to make toil a pleasure ; to work merely 
for the sake of doing something or for the purpose 
of amassing wealth beyond his needs. With a 
fertile country, with no pressure of population on 
subsistence, with few wants, why should he strive 
or cry ? For him progress and the strenuous life in 
themselves have no attraction. We are trying to 
teach him our ideals, to show him how far superior 
is our civilization. When we shall have succeeded, 
we shall have spoilt the pleasantest country and the 
most delightful people in the world. 

But let us resume our tour. By day or night, as 
the tide serves, our boat moves on the bosom of the 
wide river or threads the windings of narrow creeks. 
In the rains I have been rowed against a storm of 



A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUEMA 

ad, in a shroud of tHick darkness. Again, I have 
irted miles of forest-clad banks, each bush alive 
th myriads of fireflies, an amazing and memor- 
le sight. When villages were scarce, a halt would 
called and breakfast taken under the shade of a 
ghty tree on the grassy margin of the stream. If 
I stayed at a village for a day or two, our tem- 
rary home was a zayat, one of the many rest- 
uses built by pious hands for the comfort of way- 
■ers. Every village had on its outskirts at least 
e zayat, where the traveller could rest as long as 

pleased. With the help of a few kalagas and 
its lent by the villagers, a zayat could be made 
ite comfortable. It was somewhat startling to 
ve a snake drop from the thatched roof on to 
e's plate at chota haziri.* But such an unpleasing 
jident was rare. Twice in the dry season I ven- 
red to take my young family on tour, and each 
ne we were swamped by cataracts of abnormal 
in. Once we were putting up in a roomy zayat, 
len, soon after dark, a hurricane of wind arose, 
d a deluge of rain began to fall. The kalagas 
sre blown in, and the baby almost blown out of 
3 cot. We were rescued by the headman, who 
tne with a train of lantern-bearers, and hospitably 
re us oS to his house. The rest of the night we 
ent under the family mosquito-net, the family 
ding quarters elsewhere. The mosquito-net was 

stout opaque cloth, and covered the space of a 
r-sized room. My wife went no more on tour in 
e Delta. 

* Early breakfast. 



THE FIRST SUBDIVISION 49 

A pleasant interlude was an occasional visit to 
Father Bertrand at his mission-station in a remote 
corner of the subdivision. It is a common pose for 
the man of the world to profess to regard mission- 
aries with suspicion, if not dislike, and to hold native 
Christians in abhorrence. My experience has led 
me far from these conclusions. The longer I lived 
in the Province, the better I came to like, the more 
to respect, missionaries, and the more esteem I felt 
for Burmese and Karen Christians. The principal 
missionary bodies in Burma are Anglicans, Roman 
Catholics, and American Baptists. Among all these 
I have found valued friends. One of the most vener- 
able personalities of my early years was the saintly 
Bishop Bigandet, whose name will always 'be held 
in reverence. Apart from the religious aspect, the 
educational and civilizing value of mission-work 
cannot be overrated. Some of ihe best schools and 
one of the only two colleges are maintained by 
missions. Though Burmans generally adhere to 
their own creed, those who have become Christians 
are for the most part men of good standing. I do 
not think there are many bread-and-butter converts 
among them. In an Upper Burman village I found 
a Christian headman, who told me that his pro- 
genitors had been of the same faith. A mission, it 
was said, had been established there in the rfeign of 
Queen Elizabeth, and the altar-fire had been kept 
alive for three centuries. It seemed a creditable 
record. But the most abundant harvest of mission- 
work is yielded by Karens. The heathen Karen, 
as the missionaries call him, is an uncouth, savage 

4 



A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

rson. The Christian Karen, though lacking the 
ace and charm of the Burman, is a law-abiding 
lizen, with many sterling virtues. Even by 
irmese ofl&cers it is recognized that there is very 
tie crime among Christian Karens. For this 
ckward race missionaries of all denominations 
ve done a vast amount of educating and civilizing 
)rk. Without wishing to make any invidious 
itinction, I know nothing more praiseworthy than 
B devotion of Catholic missionaries, who live ascetic 
es in solitary places, sacrificing the world to their 
sation, subsisting on nothing a month, and giving 
QS out of that wage. While on this subject, I 
i,y mention the admirable work done among lepers 

Catholic missions in Mandalay and Rangoon. 

each of these places is an asylum for these 
pless outcasts, where all the nursing and attend- 
ee are done by nuns and sisters. The devotion 
these gentle ladies is beyond all words of reverence, 
lother excellent Catholic foundation is the Home 
the Little Sisters of the Poor in Rangoon. Here 
ed and helpless men and women, without distinc- 
n of race or creed, are received and kept in 
nfort. It is pleasant to record that the Home 
s been warmly and liberally supported by a 
irmese Buddhist, my worthy friend the Honourable 
lung Htoon Myat. 

The memory of Father Bertrand has led me far 
>m Pantanaw. Our first year in a subdivision was 
1 of novelty and variety, not of an exciting kind, 
d perhaps not of interest except to ourselves. 
LOUgh I learned something of the people, my stay 



THE FIEST SUBDIVISION 51 

was too short. I have no claim to intimate know- 
ledge of the Delta, such as that of my successor, 
Mr. de la Courneuve, or my lamented friend Colonel 
F. D. Maxwell,* who knew every creek and channel, 
and, apparently, every man, woman, and child, and 
who was the leading authority on all questions 
relating to fisheries. While at Pantanaw I made 
the acquaintance of the remarkable man who planned 
and executed the Irrawaddy Embankments, the late 
Mr. Robert Gordon, The mere financial value 
of this colossal undertaking to the people and to 
Government may be reckoned by millions of pounds. 
The work has stood the test of time, and still 
remains a monument of skUl and foresight, and a 
source of enormous revenue. 

In 1880 I spent a year in the Secretariat. After 
acting for a short time as Assistant Secretary, I was 
retained as third man to prepare the Annual Ad- 
ministration Report and see through the Press the 
departmental Reports and Resolutions. My friend 
Mr. Burgess was acting as Secretary, the Junior 
Secretary was Mr. E. S. Symes,t one of the most 
brilliant men of his time. He became in succession 
Secretary, Chief Secretary, and Commissioner. 
When the highest prizes of the Service were within 
his grasp, a career of great distinction was prema- 
turely ended in melancholy circumstances early in 
the year 1901. Sunt lacrimm rerum. Whatever of 
Secretariat work I knew, I learned from Mr. Burgess 
and Mr. Symes. The Chief Engineer and Public 

* The late Colonel F. D. Maxwell, CLE. 

t The late Sir Edward Spence Symes, K.C.I. E. 



52 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Works Secretary was Colonel Colin Scott-Moncrieff.* 
This year, Mr. Aitchison went to Council, and was 
succeeded by Mr. C. E. Bernard, f One of the last 
civilians from Haileybury, a nephew of John and 
Henry Lawrence, Mr. Bernard came to Burma with 
a great reputation. After serving for a short time 
under Sir John Lawrence in the Punjab, and later 
with unprecedented distinction in the Central 
Provinces under Sir Richard Temple and in Bengal 
under Sir George Campbell, he became Secretary to 
Sir Richard Temple's Famine Commission, and then 
Secretary to Government in the Home Department. 
He was much trusted by Lord Ripon, with whose 
political opinions he sympathized. To him, I believe, 
is mainly due the wide extension of Municipal Ad- 
ministration in India. This, perhaps, can hardly be 
regarded as his title to fame. 

In the period covered by my recollections Mr. 
Bernard holds a foremost place, and will be often in 
the story. He was one of those rare souls who are 
the salt of the earth. Bearing, I believe, in appear- 
ance some likeness to John, in character he was 
akin to Henry Lawrence. Deeply and sincerely in 
sympathy with the people, despising the gaud and 
glitter which some regard as essential in dealing 
with Orientals,! hating the shadow of injustice or 

* Sir Colin Scott-Moncrieff, K.C.S.I., K.C.M.G. 

+ The late Sir Charles Bernard, K.C.S.I., for some years 
Secretary in the Revenue and Statistics Department at the India 
Office. 

I "Don't let them do that, they'll take me for a Burmese 
Minister," he called out, as officious underlings were hustling 
some carts out of his path as he rode through Mandalay. 



THE SECEETAKIAT 53 

harshness, his sole desire was to do his duty to the 

utmost of his strength. His kindly consideration 

was no mark of weakness. On occasion he could be 

stern and unbending. He exacted, as he yielded, 

obedience. Combining with the finest moral and 

intellectual qualities eminence in all manly pursuits, 

he stands forth as an ideal figure among the men 

who have built up the Indian Empire. No more 

chivalrous, high-minded gentleman ever served the 

Crown. As an administrator, his knowledge of 

detail, his extraordinary memory, his power of rapid 

work, were almost unparalleled. It is ungracious to 

suggest even minor defects in one to whom I owe so 

much and who inspired in those privileged to be 

near him all reverence and affection. It may be 

that impatience of delay and of any failure from the 

best led him to do the work of his subordinates 

and that sometimes his judgment erred. But what 

nobility of soul, what zeal for righteousness, what 

effacement of self, what courage and resolution, 

what fervent, unaifected piety I Twenty years 

later, when mourned by all good men. Sir Charles 

Bernard had long gone to his rest, his widow was 

again in Burma. On the eve of her departure, 

entirely of their own initiative, representative 

Burmans of Rangoon brought her an address and 

a piece of Burmese silver-work as a token of respect 

for her husband's memory.* 

* Among many mistaken appreciations of Burmese character 
is the notion that Burmans have no sense of gratitude. This 
story indicates the contrary. Since my retirement I have been 
touched by the frequent receipt of letters and other tokens of 
remembrance from Burmese friends obviously disinterested. 



A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

No one but Mr. Pepys could make interesting the 
jord of daUy journeys to the Secretariat and the 
capilation of Blue-Books. Let it suffice to say 
at we established a precedent by observing the 
escribed date for the issue of the Administration 
jport, a gloomy volume which no one save the 
oapiler of Moral and Material Progress has ever 
en known to read. Mr. Eegan, the indefatigable 
perintendent of the Government Press, who never 
ce failed in any undertaking, or in the fulfilment 
a promise, risked his life in a sampan and hurled 
B copies for India on to the mail-boat a few 
nutes before she left her moorings at midnight. 
le Report was not lightened by the statement that 
I, little tasteful carving relieves the baldness of 
ne of our police officers." That was not the fault 
the printer. 



CHAPTER IV 

SOME ASPECTS OF BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 

One of the odd jobs which fell to my lot in my first 
year was to consult the Elders of Bassein on the 
opium question. They were unanimous in their 
condemnation of opium in every shape. Some races 
consume opium in moderation, as Englishmen drink 
beer, without visible harm. Indians, Chinese, Shans, 
Kachins, may be consumers of opium, and none the 
worse in health or morals. The Burman is differ- 
ently constituted. Perhaps by temperament he 
lacks restraint, doing nothing without overdoing it. 
Whenever a Burman takes to opium, he drifts into 
excess, and becomes an outcast from decent society. 
The feeling of the better classes is perfectly con- 
sistent on this point. The term "bein-sa" (opium- 
eater) is among the most opprobrious epithets that 
can be applied to anyone. Among other races 
people of decent standing use opium as a relaxation 
without loss of caste. Among Burmans it is not so. 
Throughout my service I knew only one man of 
position who was reputed to be a bein-sa. Even 
in his case the reputation may have been un- 
deserved. In Upper Burma, in the King's time, the 

55 



56 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

use of opium by Burmans was strictly prohibited, 
and I believe the prohibition was generally enforced. 
Exceptions were made in the case of Chinese and 
others. But the suggestion that when we occupied 
Upper Burma we found a flourishing though illicit 
opium traffic in full swing is quite unsupported by 
facts. As a race, it may be said that Burmans are 
singularly free from the opium vice. The more 
difficult it is made for Burmans to procure this drug, 
the better it will be for the country. 

Similarly, but in a less marked degree, intoxicating 
drinks are avoided by good Buddhists. I was many 
years in Burma before I saw a drunken Burman. 
I am afraid that the habit of drinking is on the 
increase. The most popular liquor is what is vulgarly 
called "toddy," no relation to the concoction dear 
to Britons. It is not a spirit, but a juice extracted 
from the tari palm, and should rightly be called 
tan-ye, or tari. Unfermented, freshly drawn from 
the tree in the cool of the morning, it is a pleasant 
and refreshing drink, if somewhat oversweet. It 
ferments rapidly of its own accord. Fermented, it is 
a heady liquor, stealing away men's brains. In dry 
tracts, where the tari palm abounds, the consump- 
tion of tari is very common, though still, I think, 
not among the better classes. The Burman has no 
head, and succumbs at once to a comparatively small 
quantity of liquor. In his cups he is a quarrel- 
some, truculent savage, one of the most dangerous 
of created beings. Hence, in districts where palm- 
groves decorate the landscape, violent crimes, 
murders, cuttings, stabbings, are lamentably fre- 



BUEMESE LIFE AND CHAEACTER 57 

quent. It has been suggested that if all tari and 
kindred palms were destroyed, the golden age would 
come again. Besides tari, country-made spirits are 
consumed in large quantities, and illicit distillation 
is commonly practised, a lucrative trade which fine 
or imprisonment fails to suppress. For European 
liquors, except, perhaps, bottled beer, as yet little 
taste has been acquired. I should like to say that 
the habit of drinking is confined to labourers and 
peasants ; but it cannot be denied that many people 
of position, who should set an example, indulge in 
it. Yet, on the whole, to drink is the exception ; to 
abstain is the rule. 

Let us turn to pleasanter topics. The amusements 
of the people are many and various. In the village 
street you will see men sitting over a chess-board 
playing a game very much like the chess known in 
Eui;ope. The moves and rules are similar, though 
the shape of the pieces and their names are difierent. 
A bad habit prevails of finishing each move by 
thumping the piece loudly on the board. Card 
games are also in high favour, the most esteemed 
being the game called " ko-mi," literally, " catch the 
nine." Of course, cards are played for money. The 
Burman is a born gambler, and indulges his propen- 
sity on every available occasion. We have austerely 
set our faces against gambling in every form, especi- 
ally gambling with cards, and interfere not a little 
with this fascinating pastime. Perhaps, contrary to 
the current opinion derived from tales of travellers 
'and legends from the hills, the real defect of the 
Englishman in Burma is that he is too serious, too 



58 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

little inclined to make allowances for a joyous, light- 
hearted people. Public gambling is sternly dis- 
countenanced. For many years the Legislature has 
been occupied in devising measures for its sup- 
pression, meeting by fresh enactments the ingenious 
efforts of the Courts to find means to rescue the 
gambler from the meshes of the law, of the gambler 
to sail as near to the wind as possible without 
capsizing. To the impartial observer these alternate 
struggles of the Legislature to make its prohibitions 
effective, of the Courts to provide loopholes for the 
gambler to escape, afford much healthy amusement. 
I have taken a hand in the game on both sides in 
progressive stages of a varied career. Let me not 
be thought too flippant. If Burmans would be con- 
tent to have quiet little ko-mi parties of friends in 
their own houses, I for one should be the last to 
object. But it is a well-known fact that gambling 
parties are not conducted on these principles. 
Practically it may be said that in every gambling 
party someone makes a profit apart from the chances 
or skill of the game. This is the essential distinc- 
tion of a common gaming-house, and the practice 
is properly discouraged. When it is added that 
gaming parties constantly lead to brawls, affrays, 
violent assaults, and indirectly to thefts and em- 
bezzlements, perhaps the attitude of the earnest 
official may be regarded with sympathy. Pitch-and- 
toss and other forms of gambling in public places 
are prohibited, as in most civilized countries. Lot- 
teries are exceedingly popular ; they are for the 
most part promoted by the intelligent Chinaman, to 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 59 

the detriment of the guileless Burman. A pleasing 
form is that known as the "thirty-six animal" 
lottery. The punter stakes on any. of the animals 
on the board ; the winning animal, having been 
previously secretly determined, is disclosed when 
the stakes have been made. There is room here for 
deception. King Thebaw is supposed to have ruined 
half Mandalay by State lotteries established for the 
purpose of raising revenue. No one will be surprised 
to hear that lotteries on races, to which the authori- 
ties are discreetly blind, are warraly supported by 
Burmans of all classes ; they are of a mild descrip- 
tion, tickets are cheap, and really hurt no one, like 
the capitation tax. It is almost superfluous to 
record that cock-fighting is a favourite pastime ; 
this, too, is against the law, but it is hardly on this 
account less popular. I have heard of, but never 
seen, fights between buffaloes and even elephants. 

An innocent game in which so far no one has 
found the taint of sin is Burmese football (chin 
16n). It is played in the village street or any open 
space, with a light, open-worked bamboo ball, by 
any number of players. Some Burmans attain great 
proficiency, kicking the ball with toe or heel, catching 
it on their shoulders, making it leap unexpectedly 
by mere exertion of the muscles. Real football is, 
of course, an exotic, but has attained great popu- 
larity. It is seldom that the introducer of a national 
game can be identified, but in this case due credit 
can be given to the right person. British football 
was introduced into Burma some forty years ago by 
Sir George Scott. When his statue adorns Fytche 



60 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Square, among other trophies a football must be 
carved at his feet. The game is played with zeal 
and enthusiasm by countless Burman boys and young 
men. To see Burmans kicking a football with naked 
feet is a lesson in the hardness of the human sole. 
Football matches attract great crowds of Burmans 
in Rangoon and elsewhere. Mercifully the adoption 
of the Association form of the game has been or- 
dained. To think of hot-headed Burmans engaged 
in the rough-and-tumble of Rugby excites lurid 
imaginings. As it is, the referee has an arduous 
and anxious time. For the most part, however, 
good-humour and a sporting spirit prevail. 

Pony-races, races of trotting bullocks drawing 
light carts, elephant-races, boat-races, are among 
the most popular sports. These also, here as else- 
where, give opportunities for gambling ; but, apart 
from this, great interest is taken in them. In one 
of my subdivisions on one day of every week a local 
pony race-meeting was held, attended by the whole 
population of the small headquarter town, and often 
graced by the presence of the leading officials. In 
those parts of the country which are comparatively 
or absolutely dry Burmans are good riders, accus- 
tomed to ponies from their childhood. Their saddle 
is horribly uncomfortable to a European, their 
stirrups short, their knees near their noses. The 
favourite pace is a smooth amble, untiring, it is 
thought, both to rider and to steed. I have seen a 
Burman, to avoid a soft place, ride a pony for some 
yards along the parapet of a bridge with a good 
drop below. 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 61 

As might be expected in a country where the 
waterways are many, Burmans are an amphibious 
race, good swimmers, at home in the water, and 
expert in the management of boats with oars and 
sails. Wherever there is a stream, the whole popu- 
lation bathes either at dawn or dusk. Men, women, 
and children swim about together, and perfect 
decorum is observed. Of course, boat-races are a 
popular amusement. Long shallow canoes, paddled 
by twenty or thirty men, all shouting a boastful 
song, contend in these races. At the goal is a wand 
suspended through a hollow bamboo. The man in 
the bow of the leading boat carries off the wand. 
There is thus never any dispute as to the winner. 
The pace is pretty good, but not nearly so fast as 
that of a good English four or eight. 

As strict Buddhists, Burmans* are supposed to 
abstain from animal food, or, at least, from taking 
life for the purpose of providing food. For fisher- 
men, who must break this precept daily, special 
uncomfortable hells are reserved. Hunting and 
shooting are practised at grave risk of future 
disaster, and usually by the younger men who think 
they have time to make up for these derelictions, or 
are giddily thoughtless of the hereafter. A pious 
friend of mine in Upper Burma used to be much 
scandalized at the levity of his aged father, who 
persisted in coursing hares when he ought to have 
been making his soul. But as regards the consump- 
tion of flesh of birds, beasts, and fish, there seems to 
be no practical restraint among any class. So long 
as you are not instrumental in causing death, you 



62 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

may safely eat the flesh. Beef and poultry are 
freely eaten when available. Often stolen cattle 
are slaughtered and eaten. The flesh of no creature 
which has died a natural death, except perhaps 
dogs and tigers, is despised. Things which to our 
taste have weird scent and flavour are highly appre- 
ciated. The most popular article of food is ngapi, a 
composition of fish suifered to decompose and pre- 
pared in many ways, all equally malodorous in 
result. This is universally used as seasoning of rice 
at all meals. Then there is a dreadful fruit which 
grows in the south, called a " durian," a large 
green fruit, bigger than an average cocoanut, with 
a thick rind, containing big seeds embedded in a 
sort of custard. It emits a disgusting odour, which 
cannot be described in polite language. Of this 
fruit Burmans are inordinately fond. In the King's 
time, every year as the season came round, His 
Majesty used to charter a steamer solely to bring up 
a cargo of durians. When, in later years, I told 
the Ministers that we were about to build a railway 
to Mandalay, the Prime Minister's first remark was: 
" Excellent ; then we shall be able to get our 
durians fresh." To my mind the taste is worse than 
the smell. Yet many Europeans regard this fruit 
as a delicacy, and eat it freely, even greedily. My 
theory is that the taste was painfully acquired by 
officers stationed in remote places where durians 
grow, and where there is nothing to do. By these 
pioneers others were persuaded to essay the high 
adventure. Of a habit so difficult of acquisition 
and so morbid, the devotees are naturally a little 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 63 

proud. One might suppose that the nostrils of 
people who love ngapi and durians were proof 
against any smell. On the contrary, Burmans are 
very sensitive to the smell of oil burnt in cooking, 
which they regard as odor nervis inimicus, particu- 
larly hurtful to the sick, but grievous to anyone. 
The third characteristic article of diet in Burma is 
let-pet (pickled tea). So far as I know, this is 
the ordinary tea of commerce, grown almost entirely 
in the Northern Shan State of Taungbaing. It is 
not used to make an infusion ; the leaf is prepared 
for use as a condiment. The trade and cultivation 
are entirely in the hands of Shans and Palaungs. 
Let-pet was brought down from the hills packed in 
long baskets borne on bullocks, now more commonly 
by train. It was formerly an article monopolized 
by the King. I have not heard of any European 
professing to like the taste of let-pet. 

The Burman is first of all an agriculturist. He is 
only a moderately good carpenter, though he can 
put the bamboo to many uses. As a boat-builder 
he excels, fashioning large boats on lines of grace 
and beauty. Also he can, of course, make his 
own flimsy house of mat and thatch, or a more 
substantial dwelling of teak or jungle-wood. But 
the few manual industries in which Burmans really 
shine are those which have an artistic basis. Where 
the secret of a glaze is known, as at Bassein in the 
delta, and at Kyaukmyaung, the port of Shwebo, 
pottery is practised as an hereditary art, and many 
gracious shapes and designs are fashioned out of 
ductile clay. Silk is grown by an obscure race 



64 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

called Yabeins. But it is as dangerous to cultivate 
the silkworm as to be a fisherman. More often, 
therefore, imported silk is used on Burmese looms, 
where cloths of lovely mingled colours and delicious 
wavy patterns are still produced. Alas ! this charm- 
ing domestic industry is on the wane, and both silks 
and cottons are now as a rule imported from Europe. 
The fine natural taste of the people is deteriorating. 
One of the saddest signs of this degeneracy is the 
substitution of the ugly gingham or silk umbrella 
for the darling, bright- coloured little tis,* which 
used to preserve the complexions of Burmese maids. 
This cruel sacrifice to economy and utility has 
almost succeeded in spoiling the incomparable 
dazzling glory of mingled colour which used to 
characterize a Burmese crowd. On the occasion of 
a royal visit to Mandalay, when boat-races were 
being held on the Moat amid the most picturesque 
surroundings, the delightful effect of rows upon 
rows of gaily dressed Burmans lining the farther 
edge was marred by a forest of imported umbrellas 
reared hideous to the sky. However, word was 
sent along the line that it was disrespectful to raise 
an umbrella in the presence of royalty. And as if 
at the touch of an enchanter's wand, the horrible 
excrescences disappeared and light and beauty 
reigned once more. 

An extraordinarily effective art is the lacquer- 
work of Pagan. Bowls of exquisite shape, boxes 
for sacred books or for carrying the necessary betel, 
offer choice specimens of the artist's skill. The 

* Ti, an umbrella ; also the ornamental summit of a pagoda. 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTEH 65 

designs in rich colouring on these lovely works are 
full of vigour and originality. Lacquering is a 
laborious art. A really fine box or bowl takes 
months to complete. The most elaborate work is 
based on a foundation of horsehair, the finished pro- 
duct so flexible and supple that a bo\vl can be bent 
till the opposite sides meet without the fabric 
cracking. I confess that, as regards my own 
treasured specimens, I am content to know that 
this can be done without putting them to the test. 
Even at Pagan the hateful modern spirit has begun 
to shed baleful influence. Mingled with bowls and 
boxes, consecrated by use and -wont, may be seen 
cigar cases of Western shapes and other signs of 
decadence. 

Burmese silver- work and wood-carving are world- 
renowned. These fine arts are still flourishing. 
Besides fashioning portable articles, such as figures 
of men and elephants, or ornamented boxes, wood- 
carvers show their skill and taste in elaborate designs 
on monasteries and other public buildings. Some 
of the carving on monasteries in Mandalay, the 
Queen's Monastery in A Road, and others of earlier 
date, is of the highest aesthetic merit. The specimens 
of wood-carving in the Palace have never appealed 
to me so intensely. In the presentation of figures 
the execution is bold and dignified. Wood-carving 
seems to* me to have preserved its native simplicity, 
to have been less affected than other arts by devas- 
tating Western contact. Silver- workers still produce 
fabrics of grace and beauty in the best indigenous 
fashion ; but too often degenerate teapots and 

5 



66 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

decadent toilet-sets give evidence of debasing utili- 
tarian propaganda. I grieve to hear that electric 
light has been installed on the Great Pagoda in 
Rangoon as well as in the temple of the Yakaing 
Paya.* Much have we done for Burma. But it is 
sad to think that we have sullied and smirched the 
tender bloom of Burmese art and artistic ideals. 

Of the national character, indications will be 
found scattered over these pages. It is a mass of 
apparent inconsistencies. Kindness and compas- 
sion are noticeable virtues. Children are treated 
with indulgence, not always according to discretion. 
You will see a constable come off a long spell of 
sentry duty, and straightway walk about with a 
child perched on his shoulder. No orphan is left 
desolate. No stranger asks in vain for food and 
shelter. Yet these good people have a full mixture 
of original sin. They produce dacoits who perpe- 
trate unspeakable barbarities on old men and women. 
Sudden and quick in quarrel, the use of the knife is 
lamentably common. Gay, careless, light-hearted, 
with a strong if uncultured sense of humour, they 
can be cruel and revengeful. The statistics of the 
Courts reveal a mass of criminality as shocking as 
it is surprising. Murders, dacoities, robberies, 
violent assaults, are far too numerous. I can under- 
stand the prevalence of crimes of passion and impulse ; 
but in a land flowing with milk and honey, a fair and 
fertile land where there are work and food enough for 
everyone, I cannot understand why there should be 
any such sordid crimes as theft and embezzlement. 
* The Arakan Pagoda, as we call it, at Mandalay. 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 67 

Two characteristics distinguish Burmans from 
iQost other Eastern races. They have no caste, and 
there is no seclusion of women. Socially, therefore, 
we can meet on equal terms. A Burman does not 
shrink from eating and drinking in our company, or 
need to undergo elaborate and expensive purification 
if by accident or design he is sullied by our contact. 
If I go to visit a Burman, I am received by his wife 
and daughters, and in turn when, often with the 
ladies of his house, he comes to see me, he is welcome 
to associate on friendly terms with my family. The 
absence of caste does much to facilitate the task of 
administration. Partly owing to the intelligence 
and docility of the people, but mainly on account of 
this lack of caste, we were able, for instance, to 
carry out, with no serious trouble, measures for 
suppressing plague. Our real difficulty, I may say 
parenthetically, was to find the right measures 
to take. In the end what some people call the 
disgusting practice of inoculation seems to have been 
found most beneficial. In some places people were 
encouraged to be inoculated by making the occasion 
a festival ; pwfes were held, small presents given to 
children, prizes distributed by lotteries in which the 
chances were free. In Sagaing last year, out of a 
population of ten thousand, eight thousand were 
inoculated. The local officers and their wives under- 
went the operation, often more than once, by way of 
inspiring confidence, as for the same purpose my 
wife and I were vaccinated years before at Pantanaw. 
Among those inoculated there were no cases of 
plague. The ridiculous suggestion that inoculation 



68 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

tends to spread plague has been, we might almost 
say, disproved by specific experiments in Burma 
and, I doubt not, elsewhere. 

To resume. Burmese women hold a position as 
dignified and assured as in any country of the 
world. Every Buddhist believes that women are 
inferior to men, that a really good woman may have 
the luck to be born a man in a future incarnation. 
Every Burman knows that a woman is as good as a 
man, and often better. It was in my experience 
that occurred the pleasing incident elsewhere told 
not quite correctly. A young woman came to me 
for a reduction of her income-tax. She said she 
earned her living by selling in the bazaar. 

" What does your husband do ?" I asked. 

" He stays at home and minds the children." 

This was an exceptional case, but it illustrates the 
relative position. Burmese women take an active 
part in the business of the country. Most of the 
retail trade is in their hands ; sometimes they 
manage more important commercial affairs. The 
control of a staU in bazaar or market is regarded as 
a very desirable occupation. Is it indiscreet to 
suggest that opportunity for gossip is an attraction ? 
Often a wife takes great interest in her husband's 
official or private work. If one has business with a 
police-sergeant or Thugyi, and finds him absent, one 
does not seek a subordinate, but discusses and settles 
the matter with the Sazin-gadaw or the Thugyi- 
gadaw.* It is on record that, prisoners being 
brought to a police-station in the absence of any of 
* Sergeant or Thugyi's wife. 



BURMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 69 

the force, the sergeant's wife put them in the cage, 
and, herself shouldering a da, did sentry-go till 
relieved. After these instances it need hardly be 
said that in her own household the Burmese woman 
is supreme. Her position is equalled only by that 
of a French mother. 

Girls may not go to monasteries for instruction, 
so elementary education is not universal among 
women as among men. But many girls, especially 
of the richer classes, learn to read and write. I 
think more women are literate than among other 
Eastern people. Practice in the bazaar, at any rate, 
makes them ready at mental arithmetic. One day 
I was holding an amateur examination of a monastic 
school. The mothers sat round, admiring the 
academic gymnastics of their infant prodigies. 
Presently I set in Burmese form a variation of the 
old theme of a herring and a half. All the boys 
and all their teachers took slates and began to figure 
laboriously. Almost before they had begun the 
bazaar women in the circle laughed and gave the 
answer. One pleasing characteristic of Burmese 
ladies, rare among people of warm climates, may be 
mentioned. Those who have not lived roughly, but 
have been properly housed and tended, preserve a 
youthful appearance in the most surprising manner 
quite to mature age. Very rare among women of 
all classes is the aged appearance of comparatively 
young women. 

An admirable trait is the remarkable absence of 
serious crime among women. It is quite rare to find 
a woman in prison, and I remember no instance of 



70 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

the execution of a woman. While gaols in Burma 
provide quarters for 15,000 men, they can accom- 
modate only 354 women. These seem to me very 
remarkable figures. There is no crowding on the 
women's side of the gaol. Indeed, if imprisonment 
of women were abolished in Burma, no harm would 
be done. I suppose Burmese women produce fewer 
criminals than any other civilized race. Not that 
they are all angels ; they are apt to be hasty and to 
offend with their tongues. Sometimes the bazaar is 
the scene of actual conflict between angry fair ones. 
But on the whole Burmese women are strikingly 
innocent and well-behaved. Good mothers and 
honest wives, light-hearted and sociable, they are 
justly held in high esteem. 

Burmese girls enjoy much freedom. You may see 
them laughing and talking at the village well, sitting 
at the domestic loom, walking in the roads, engaged 
on household duties. Infant marriage is unknown ; 
no Burmese girl marries except to please herself.' 
Like other Orientals, girls come early to maturity, 
and marriages at fourteen or fifteen are not un- 
common ; but as often as not a Burmese maiden 
does not marry till she is eighteen or nineteen, or 
even older. She must not wait too long, or she wUl 
be laughed at as an old maid.* The relations be- 
tween the sexes are much the same as in Western 
countries. Boys and girls and men and women fall 
in and out of love and break one another's hearts 
after the best traditions of romance. Jealousy is a 
prevalent vice, and many die for love. 

* A-pyo-gyi. 



BUEMESE LIFE AND CHARACTER 71 

Buddhism recognizes and allows polygamy, and 
it is incorrect to say that plurality of wives is 
uncommon. Several different kinds of wives are 
described in the Law of Manu, which contains even 
an account of the popular modern character, the 
wife like a mother. But many, probably most, 
men live happily with one wife all their lives. In 
any case, the first or principal wife has a distinct 
and honoured place in the household. No ceremony 
of marriage is necessary or, among the mass of the 
people, usual. The high Buddhist theory, how 
different from the practice of this joyous people, 
regards life as a mistake, this world as a vale of 
tears, transitory existence as the supreme evil, and 
bids us all aim at the goal of eternal rest. Therefore 
no Burmese monk would bless a marriage ; he is 
more at home at a funeral. Mutual consent is the 
sole essential of a marriage. Similarly, divorce is 
easy. No Court need intervene. Ordinarily, separa- 
tion is effected by arrangement between the parties, 
sometimes in the presence of the village elders. 
Although the Courts have not, perhaps, said the 
last word on the law of the subject, it is commonly 
accepted that, even without fault on either side, 
one party to the marriage can insist on divorce 
against the wish of the other party to the contract. 
In this respect men and women are on equal terms. 
The safeguard against capricious divorce is supplied 
by strict rules for the division of property at the 
dissolution of a marriage. In the case mentioned 
above, the one who insists on separation must 
abandon all property to the reluctant partner. 



72 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Though so easy, divorce is far less common than 
might be expected. Most married people live to- 
gether till death parts them. It is not unusual for 
divorced people to come together again. An appre- 
ciable proportion of the crimes of violence is due to 
the refusal of a woman to rejoin her divorced hus- 
band. I do not suggest that the Burmese law and 
practice of divorce would be suitable in communities 
of a more complex type. The comparatively even 
distribution of wealth, the fertility of the soil and 
the scantiness of the population, the absence alike 
of great fortunes and of abject, pinching poverty, 
the kindly disposition of the race, probably combine 
with more obscure elements to render somewhat 
primitive conditions possible. It is quite certain 
that in the stage which Burmese civilization has 
reached the simple marriage law works well and 
produces no obviously ill-effects. It need hardly 
be said that there is no bar to the marriage of 
widows 



CHAPTER V 

ON THE FRONTIER 

Early in 1881 I went for a very short term to 
Myaung-m^a, in the Delta. The subdivisional 
officer having suddenly broken down, I was sent 
to superintend the taking of the Census. At 
Myaung-m^a, newly constituted the headquarters 
of a subdivision, there was no house. I lived in a 
zayat near the Court. Myaung-mJ^a is now the 
chief town of an important district, with a Deputy 
Commissioner as well as a Divisional and District 
Judge. Having finished the Census, I went to 
Bassein, riding most of the way over bare rice- 
fields. Everywhere I was received with the generous 
hospitality characteristic of the Burmese people, and 
I made many pleasant acquaintances among Thugyis 
and villagers. One village headman lives in my 
memory, a stalwart Karen who in his youth had 
been the champion boxer at the Court of Mandalay. 
He said so, and he ought to know. Probably his 
position was not one of high eminence ; Burmese 
and Karen boxing is a mild game. The challenger 
leaps into the ring; slapping his chest, he dances 
round, bidding all come on. It is one of the rules of 

73 



74 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

the game that the players should be equally matched 
in size and weight. With much dijB&culty a com- 
petitor is found to fulfil the requirements and accept 
the challenge. At last preliminaries are arranged, 
and the boxers face each other in the ring. They 
may kick, and they may slap with open hand, but 
not with closed fist. As soon as a drop of blood is 
drawn from the slightest scratch, the fight is at an 
end. Gloves are not worn. This may sound bar- 
barous, and should be exciting ; as a matter of fact, 
it is very harmless and extremely dull. In my 
experience, Karens are better at the game than 
Burmans. 

For the rest of my time as subdivisional officer, 
I stayed at Bassein as the guest of Colonel William 
Munra, the Deputy Commissioner, an officer of the 
old school who had spent his life in Burma. Colonel 
Munro made use of the aptitude presumed to have 
been acquired in the Secretariat during the past 
year and set me to write all his annual reports on 
the sole basis of the figures in the appended state- 
ments. 

My next charge was the frontier subdivision of 
Mye-dfe in the Tha-yet-m^o district. The head- 
quarter town was Allan- m^o, called after Major 
Allan who was Quartermaster-General when the 
frontier was demarcated. AUan-m^o lies on the 
Irrawaddy, just over five miles north of Tha-yet- 
m^o,* the district headquarters. The distance had 
to be more than five miles, or travelling allowance 

* Tha-yet-myo, not the city of mangoes, as might be supposed, 
but the city of slaughter. 



ON THE FRONTIER 75 

for the journey would have been inadmissible. 
Above AUan-myo were the villages of Myed^ and 
Mob6n. Long ago were two young Princes, blind. 
It was foretold that if they went down the Irra- 
waddy they should recover their sight. So they set 
out on a raft. Presently, at a place where they 
landed, they perceived a glimmering of the sky and 
exclaimed : " Mo-b6n ; there is the sky above." A 
few miles farther on, landing again, they saw the 
ground on which they stood, and cried : " Mye-de ; 
there is the earth beneath." Thus was the prophecy 
fulfilled and the places received their names. Six 
miles north of the flagstafi" on the fort at Myed^, 
then no longer a place of arms, was the starting- 
point of the frontier-line laid down by Lord Dal- 
housie's personal direction. 

The subdivision was a compact area of about a 
thousand square miles. A comparatively barren 
land, fringed by hills of no great height, intersected 
by many watercourses, now beds of dry sand, anon 
rushing torrents. These mountain-streams come 
down with sudden violence. Often returning from 
a walk or ride, one sat awaiting the subsidence of a 
river bubbling over a sandy bed where an hour or so 
before one had passed dry-shod. Sad stories were 
told of travellers cut off in mid-stream by a rapid 
flood and forced to spend the night on a diminishing 
islet of sand. As a rule these chaungs * were not 
too deep to ford on pony-back, though as often as 
not the pony created a painful diversion by sitting 
down unexpectedly and wallowing in the waves. 

* Streams. 



76 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

In these northern wilds were no teeming rice-fields, 
no fat fisheries. The people were poor and un- 
sophisticated, raising scanty rice-crops with the aid 
of primitive irrigation works, earning a precarious 
livelihood by boiling cutch (catechu) or cultivating 
taungya * on the hillsides. One valuable crop they 
had, sessamum (hnan) ; but the farmer could not 
reckon on a good hnan season every year. Scat- 
tered among the hills were villages of tame Chins 
who had drifted down from their own land in the 
distant north-west of Upper Burma. Here were to 
be seen women with faces tattoed in close blue lines, 
according to legend a precaution against the too 
demonstrative admiration of their Burmese neigh- 
bours. The effect was singularly unbecoming, and 
already the younger women were organizing success- 
ful resistance. Chins were excellent settlers, careful 
and frugal cultivators, their villages models of neat- 
ness and cleanliness as compared with Burmese 
villages similarly situate. Much as I love Burmans, 
I cannot honestly commend the state of their 
villages. Fenced in as a protection against dacoits, 
the houses closely jammed together with no respect 
for order ; the paths, especially at the gateways, 
trodden into pulpy masses of mud by the trampling 
oxen ; the ground-floor of each hut a pen where 
cattle are installed each night ; a Burmese village is 

* In taungya cultivation, the farmer prepares a piece of forest- 
land by setting fire to the trees and undergrowth, and fertilizing 
the ground with the ashes. Rice and vegetables are sown 
broadcast. Except by careful Chins, the same piece of land is 
not used again till the forest growth has been renewed. It is a 
wasteful plan, rightly discouraged. 



ON THE FRONTIER 77 

an insanitary though often picturesque abode. Even 
the odours seem to me less fragrant and pleasing 
than to some more enthusiastic votaries. In the 
simple agricultural conditions of this primitive com- 
munity, the revenue work was very light. The 
only trouble arose from disputes about irrigation and 
rights to water. Bench work in criminal matters 
was not excessive, and most of the civil cases were 
tried by the M^o-ok (township officer). There was 
ample leisure for travelling. All the touring was 
done on Burman ponies, strong and willing little 
creatures, averaging about 12^ and never exceeding 
13^ hands. At that time it was an article of faith 
that horses, or even ponies of Waler or Arab or 
country-bred classes, could not live in Burma. We 
have learnt better in recent years. Most of the 
riding was along jungle paths through in-tree forest 
on sandy soil, quite good going even in the rains ; 
but there were craggy bits in the hills and quick- 
sands in the streams. Touring in Burma has always 
been less luxurious than camp-life in India. We 
travelled at every season of the year, carrying no 
tents, but finding abundant shelter in monasteries 
and zayats, or in frequent police-stations. Every- 
where monks and villagers were hospitable and 
friendly. Circle Thugyis flourished, men who held 
office in succession to a long line of forefathers. 
Save in one respect, the people did not seem to have 
many criminal tendencies. It was natural to see 
the stocks near the village gate ; it would have been 
surprising to see them occupied. 

We marched with Sinbaungwfe in Upper Burma. 



78 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

The border was marked by stone pillars at set 
intervals and by an actual line cut in the turf, 
which had to be inspected periodically and kept in 
visible repair. Along the frontier at intervals of 
four or five miles was a series of police posts. 
Picture a quadrangular enclosure girt by a kya- 
hlan* of stout bamboos interwoven with a bristling 
array of bamboo-spikes, quite an efficient protection 
against a rush if the heavy wooden gate was closed. 
Beside the gate stood a watch-tower. In the midst 
was a station-house and office, with a barred wooden 
cage for prisoners. Round this were grouped the 
small but sufficient houses of the constables and 
native officers. The posts were garrisoned entirely 
by local Burmans armed with das f and muskets. 
The policeman of those days was a picturesque 
person, in Burmese dress, of a pattern to some 
extent dependent on the taste of the Superinten- 
dent. A red-striped paso or 16ngyiJ marked the 
servant of the Queen. He wore his hair long, 
surmounted by a gaungbaung,§ and was not ex- 
pected to pose as a Gurkha sepoy. With all his 
many and pleasing virtues and vices, one quality his 
warmest admirers have never claimed for the average 
Burman, respect for discipline. You may drill 
Burmans till they look as smart as soldiers of the 
line, and you can teach them to shoot excellently. 

* Tiger fence. 

t Da, a knife ; in this case a Burmese sword, 
\ Paso, Idngyi, skirts worn by Burmese men, the former ot 
ampler size, 

§ The Burmese man's headgear. 



ON THE FRONTIER 79 

But so far it has not been found possible success- 
fully to train them in habits of discipline and 
method. It was, therefore, never a surprise, though 
it excited clamorous if unreasonable wrath, when, 
on reaching a police post a few hundred yards from 
the frontier, one found the great gate ajar, the 
watch-tower empty, and the sentry either absent on 
his own more or less lawful occasions, or peacefully 
sleeping with his musket by his side. This was 
well enough in quiet times, but when the war came 
the result was seen in the desertion of the frontier 
posts, and their destruction by roving bands of 
dacoits. 

The frontier-line started from a pillar on the bank 
of the Irrawaddy, on a spot visited by the great 
Governor-General himself. Hard by, on each side 
of the boundary, was a telegraph office. Though 
the wires ran from Rangoon to the border, and from 
the border to Mandalay, there was not sufficient 
comity between the Governments to allow the line 
to be linked. Every message to and from Upper 
Burma had to be carried by hand across the inter- 
vening space of a few yards and resignalled. Our 
telegraph office was the place where the subdivisional 
officer met the Wun* of Sinbaungw^ for the discus- 
sion of frontier affairs. With that official, who was 
of about the same standing as myself, my relations 
were somewhat stiff, civil but hardly cordial. It is 
a mistake to suppose that the relations between 
Europeans and Burmans are less intimate now than 
in earlier days. Twenty years later, in similar 

* Local civil officer. 



80 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

circumstances, I should certainly have asked the 
Wun to breakfast or dinner. Then, our meetings 
were rigidly formal and official. The Wun used to 
annoy me by coming into the room wearing Burmese 
shoes, a studiously discourteous act.* I could think 
of no better retort than to keep my hat on during 
the interview. I dare say it was unworthy, but I 
think it was human to feel a thrill of satisfaction 
when, four or five years later, my old friend Maung 
Lat came to me in my office in Mandalay crouching 
on the ground in the Burmese attitude of respect. 
Maung Lat was a handsome man, of the usual type 
of Burmese district officials. After the annexation 
he took service under our Government and became 
a Myo-6k. He did good work, and felix opportuni- 
tate mortis, died before he was found out. At our 
meetings at Myedfe, cattle-driving raids across the 
frontier were among the most frequent subjects of 
discussion. This was the darling sin of adventurous 
spirits on each side of the border. In a country 
where cattle are the most valuable of the farmer's 
possessions, cattle theft is one of the crimes which 
most sorely vexes the magistrate's righteous soul, and 
is most rigorously punished. All possible steps were 
taken to suppress it, and offenders were visited with 
stripes and imprisonment. Yet one could not help 
recognizing that to drive whole herds of oxen across 

* In Mandalay, in 1886, a parvenu official was guilty of the 
same breach of decorum on entering my office. I made no 
remark at the time, but I mentioned the incident to his friends. 
The Prime Minister seemed surprised that the earth had not 
opened and swallowed up that fearful man. The offence was 
not repeated. 



ON THE FEONTIEE 81 

the border, to evade police posts, to carry the spoil 
by unfrequented paths through the heart of our 
districts till it could be sold many miles away, 
perhaps in a cattle-market under the eyes of 
officials, was an attractive and exciting adventure. 
On the whole, our men had the worst of the game. 
If they were caught driving cattle from across the 
frontier, they were punished as if they had com- 
mitted the offence in British territory, while cattle- 
thieves from Upper Burma who got over the line 
with their plunder were seldom brought to justice. 
Hence many wrangles with Maung Lat. Once only 
I really had the best of the encounter. I bluffed 
him into handing back to me on the spot a man who 
had been seized on our side and carried off to 
Sinbaungwfe. At the time the incident seemed to 
me of international importance. 

The man who had set his stamp on the sub- 
division was my friend Mr. Burgess, who spent there 
the first seven years of his service, greatly to the 
benefit of himself and of the people. He made 
roads, kept the peace, and impressed the country- 
side by his zeal for justice and good order. Even in 
those dark days, before the light of a Decentraliza- 
tion Commission had shone, needless transfers 
seem to have been avoided. The township officer, 
my old and valued friend and colleague, Maung Tet 
P^o, held his charge for many years. He was an 
official of the very oldest school, not very learned, 
with only a working knowledge of codes, but 
thoroughly acquainted with every inch of his town- 
ship, and with every man, woman, and child of his 

6 



82 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

people. He had, of course, no English. I doubt if he 
was ever required to pass a departmental examina- 
tion. His handwriting was so bad that my 
Burmese clerks often had to come to me to decipher 
it. Maung Tet P^o was a man of courage and 
energy, who somewhat shocked the straighter sect 
of Buddhists by being an ardent sportsman. Bur- 
mans told with admiration that he shot birds on the 
wing. He filled the measure of his days, was 
decorated, and many years after his retirement died 
honoured and lamented. Curiously enough, though 
so nearly illiterate, he will probably be remembered 
as the compiler of a book on the " Customary Laws 
of the Chins," a treatise which attracted the atten- 
tion of Mr. Jardine,* the Judicial Commissioner, and 
was translated under his direction. The manuscript 
was beautifully written out by my clerk, Maung Po, 
afterwards a M^o-6k, one of my many Burmese 
friends, who, I suspect, was responsible for more 
than the transcription. 

At Tha-yet-m^o, then a military station of some 
importance, were half the 43rd Regiment, still on 
this side of the frontier, the 44 th Regiment, two 
battalions of Madras Infantry, and guns. The fort, 
north of the town, was duly garrisoned. At 
AUan-myo we had a detachment of British infantry 
in barracks on the hills east of the station. The 
civil officers were the Assistant Superintendent of 
Police, the late Mr. B. K. S. MacDermott, after- 
wards in the Commission, best of comrades and good 
fellows, and the Assistant Engineer, Mr. H. W. 

* Now Sir John Jardine, K.C.I.E., M.P. for Roxburghshire. 



ON THE FKONTIEB 83 

James, now Superintending Engineer. A small 
Customs Office was maintained for the registration 
of inland trade. The subdi visional officer was 
Collector of Customs, without fee or reward. In 
that capacity he had the use of the Customs boat, 
a stout English gig, very convenient for crossing the 
river, here about two miles wide. I have often seen, 
by the way, an elephant swim across with just 
enough of his head above water to seat the mahout.* 
At AUan-m^o there was a decent little house, close 
to the river-bank. When the Irrawaddy rose, the 
room on the ground-floor was generally flooded. 
At the beginning of the rains this room used to be 
invaded by swarms of tiny land- crabs, more pleasing 
visitors than scorpions. Sometimes for a few days 
the whole town was under water, and we went 
about in boats. 

Myede, traversed by the Pegu Yoma, was 
pleasanter, but less healthy, than the Delta. Here 
I had an attack of malarial fever, of no great 
severity, which left me subject to a recurrence for 
the next fourteen years or so. After that it seemed 
to be worn out. We had also in my time a dreadful 
outbreak of cholera throughout the subdivision. 
Deaths were reckoned by scores, and villages were 
almost depopulated. Riding to visit the infected 
parts, we expected to find the dead lying unburied 
in streets and houses ; happily the expectation was 
not literally fulfilled. 

Speaking from my personal experience, I regard 
Burma as a healthy country as compared with other 
* Elephant driver. 



84 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

regions of the tropics. Much depends on the com- 
fort in which one lives. The very bad name which 
Burma no doubt has acquired is due to a great 
extent to the rapid succession of the three Burmese 
Wars. After each of these wars, troops, military 
and civil officers, and police suifered many hardships 
and privations, bivouacking under the stars, and often 
irregularly fed. In these conditions sickness ensued, 
and much mortality and invaliding. For people 
properly housed and assured of a square meal at the 
right time, Burma is healthy enough. For those 
who work all the year round in the jungles of Upper 
Burma, it is rather sickly. On the whole, Lower 
Burma, except Arakan and the tracts bordering on 
the Yomas, is healthier than Upper Burma. Cholera 
and plague are not peculiar to Burma, and are not 
more deadly than in other parts of India. 

Of the wealth of insect-life much has been written. 
Besides mosquitoes, ants, white, red, and black, flying 
and merely creeping, abound in copious variety. 
Once at least they stopped a ball at Government 
House, flying in hosts, dropping their wings and 
therewith their bodies, and reducing the floor to a 
mucous mass. For me, at AUan-m^o, others of their 
species eviscerated all my books during my brief 
absence. At the beginning of the rains strange 
creeping, crawling, flying things, slimy things with 
legs, appear in swarms. The centipede makes his 
nest in your sponge ; the scorpion lurks in your 
boot. Snakes, too, are fairly numerous and of 
many kinds, from the hamadryad who chases the 
wayfarer, to the Russell's viper who lies dormant 
in his path, and when trodden on turns like any 




WllEX THE FLOODS ARE OI'T. 



ON THE FR0NT1;ER . 85 

worm. Apart from these disadvantageiS, I have no 
complaint to make of Burma as a country to live in. 

While discussing these generalities, I may say a 
few words about the climate. Naturally, in so large 
an extent of country, this is subject to considerable 
variations. The Delta is 'hot and steainy"with an 
abundant never-failing rainfall,. and no cold weather 
to speak of. Much of Upper Burma is an arid plain, 
with frequent hills, hot and dry, but relieved by a 
pleasant cold season. Even here we do not seem to 
get the constant stifling heat, day and night, of which 
we hear in the plains of Northern India. I suppose 
some people find the heat trying. An old friend of 
mine had the habit after dinner of calling his neigh- 
bour's attention to a picture on the wall, while he 
surreptitiously emptied his finger-bowl down his 
(own) neck. In Mandalay for some months of the 
wet season (not so very wet) a tearing wind rages, 
and is apt to shatter one's nerves. In Lower Burma 
the persistent rainfall is impressive. People who 
have lived there hardly notice that it ever rains in 
England. But it seldom pours both morning and 
evening. Generally it is possible to get out for 
exercise either at dawn or at close of day. 

To return to my subdivision. By an arrangement 
which seems anomalous, but which worked well 
enough, for a substantial part of my sojourn in 
Myede I was also Cantonment Magistrate at 
Tha-yet-mJ^o. The Commanding Officer most kindly 
supervised the establishment which dealt with 
hedges and ditches. My duty was to try civil and 
criminal cases, keep the accounts, and attend the 
periodical meetings of the Cantonment Committee. 



86 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

These were friendly gatherings where, unless the 
secretary officiously intervened, many pleasant 
stories whiled away the tedious hours. If I worked 
very hard, my duties on an average occupied about 
five or six hours a week, for which I drew an allow- 
ance of Rs. 200 a month. I spoil no one's market 
by revealing the existence of ithis fat sinecure ; the 
stipend was reduced by an economical Commission 
in 1887, and has since been abolished. My Deputy 
Commissioners were Colonel Horatio Nelson Davies, 
who had been Sir Arthur Phayre's secretary, my 
friend R. H. Pilcher, and Captain (now Colonel) 
W. F. H. Grey, from all of whom I received much 
kindness. Nor can I forbear to mention the hos- 
pitality of Captain William Cooke,* whose house 
was always open to me, and with whom the friend- 
ship begun in those distant days still flourishes. 
The chaplain, the Rev. J. D. Briscoe, one of the 
best of men, was also among my allies . He died, 
most sincerely mourned, in the flower of his age, I 
believe from the eflects of asceticism practised from 
no doctrinal motives, but for the sake of example to 
the soldiers among whom he worked. 

Some excitement was caused by the coming of a 
Burmese embassy accredited to the Viceroy. Among 
them was the Kyaukmyaung Atwin-Wun,")" son-in- 
law of the Taingda Mingyi, whom afterwards I knew 
well at Mandalay. Mr. Pilcher, who was deputed to 

* Colonel William Cooke, lately Commissary-General in 
Madras. 

t Atwin Wun, one of the classes of Ministers, so called from 
being nominally employed inside (atwin) the Palace, near the 
person of the King. 



ON THE FRONTIER 87 

accompany them to Simla, had met them all fre- 
quently when Assistant Resident at the Burmese 
Court. But though he was distinguished from his 
fellows by a flowing beard, they declined to recog- 
nize him, professing that in their eyes all kalas were 
ahke. Robert Pilcher had other attributes besides 
his beard which might have commended him to 
Burmese officials. His knowledge of their language 
/was scholarly and profound, while his sympathy with 
/ the people was infinite. Nothing that concerned 
them was alien from him. An instance may be given. 
Once in after-years he was with a column on march. 
Halting the column, he sat down by the wayside to 
get some information from a Burman passer-by. 
Presently the patient Commanding Officer asked 
gently if the information had been extracted. 
" I am so sorry," was the reply ; " I forgot all about 
it. He was telling me such an interesting story 
about his aunt." The Mission was hospitably re- 
ceived and entertained at Simla, but returned with- 
out having effected any useful purpose. Which 
reminds me of the Burman schoolboy who, asked to 
translate mortuus est re infectd, ventured to reply : 
" He died of an infectious disease." 

But by far the most thrilling incident of my stay 
at AUan-mJ^o was the visit of Sir Frederick Roberts. 
He came as Commander-in-Chief of the Madras 
Army, the troops in Burma being in the Madras 
command.* Attended by his staff, among whom 

* As Burma was not under the Madras Government, this 
arrangement was anomalous and inconvenient ; after the war it 
was abolished. 



88 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

were General Godfrey Clerk,* Captain Neville 
Chamberlain,f and Captain G. Pretjman.J His 
Excellency came to inspect the frontier stations, 
and marched from AUan-m^o to Toungoo across the 
Y6ma,§ which parts the Tha-yet-m^o and Toungoo 
districts. Fresh from the glories of Afghanistan 
and the march to Kandahar, though then but mid- 
way in his illustrious career, Sir Frederick Roberts 
was a hero in all men's eyes. It was my happy lot 
to make arrangements for his march and to accom- 
pany him through my subdivision. Thus as a young 
man I had the privilege of experiencing the un- 
rivalled charm and personal attraction of this great 
soldier. To the end of my days in the East I have 
seen the eyes of old native officers light up at the 
mention of Lord Roberts Sahib. Not Nelson him- 
self inspired more affection and enthusiasm in 
officers and men who served and followed him. 

At the close of this year, being sent to represent 
the Thayet-mJ^o District, I saw the first of many 
Viceroys who visited Burma, Lord Ripon. I need 
hardly say that I was too junior to be brought into 
immediate contact with His Excellency or his staff. 
Mr. Primrose 1 1 was private secretary, and Major 

* The late Sir Godfrey Clerk, K.C.V.O., C.B. 

t Now Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., 
Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary. 

i Major-General Sir George Pretyman, K.C.M.G., C.B., R.A., 
whom I met not again till he came to succeed Sir Donald 
Macleod at May-myo, where he spent the last year of his service 
in command of the Burma Division. 

§ Ydma, a range of hills ; literally, backbone. 

II The Right Honourable Sir Henry Primrose, P.C., K.C.B., 
C S.I., I S.O. 



ON THE FRONTIER 89 

Evelyn Baring,* Finance Member, was of the Vice- 
roy's party. The most obvious result of Major 
Baring's visit was the stoppage of most of our 
remunerative jail industries. The order for dis- 
continuance was of general application throughout 
India ; Burma, still an unsophisticated place, under 
a ruler who had learned to obey, was the only 
Province which made a serious effort to carry the 
order into effect. The usual festivities were held in 
honour of the Viceroy's visit, a ball, a lev^e, and a 
garden-party. The most picturesque incident that 
lingers in my mind is the posting of venerable 
Burmese officers, in fur coats, clasping to their 
breasts silver -mounted das, in the corridors of 
Government House, as a-thet-daw-saung"|" to Their 
Excellencies. 

At Tha-yet-m5^o, for the first and last time, and 
only for a few days, I held charge of a district as 
acting Deputy Commissioner. For various reasons 
there was a temporary lack of senior officers in the 
district. For a short period I was not only Deputy 
Commissioner, but also Cantonment Magistrate, 
Superintendent of Police, and Superintendent of the 
Jail. I did not succeed in drawing the pay of all 
these offices. 

* The Earl of Cromer, P.C, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.M.G., K C.S.I., 
CLE. 

t Guardians of the Royal life. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE SECRETARIAT : THE LAST SUBDIVISION 

Early in 1883 the acting Chief Commissioner, 
Mr. Crosthwaite,* very considerately gave me the 
option of coming to Rangoon as Junior Secretary. 
In those days it was usual for officers, especially 
young officers, to go where they were sent, without 
previous reference and without room for remon- 
strance. Nearly twenty years passed before I was 
again consulted as to my posting. Recently a dif- 
ferent practice seems to have developed. Although 
from a financial point of view the move to Rangoon 
was ruinous, we decided to risk it and went down. 
Except for two brief intervals, I stayed in the 
Secretariat till early in 1891. Altogether I spent in 
the office eleven years a period surpassed only, I 
think, by my friend Mr. C. G. Bayne.t In 1883 
Mr. Symes was Secretary, Mr. Burgess being on 
leave. 

Life was much the same as when we were here 
two years before. Rangoon was still a pleasant 

* Sir Charles Crosthwaite, K. C.S.I. 

t Mr. C. G. Bayne, C.S.I., whose early retirement deprived 
the Province of an invaluable officer. 

90 



THE SECEETAKIAT 91 

social place. We rode in the mornings, and played 
polo or tennis in the afternoons, gave a good many 
hours to dancing and whist, went to the races twice 
a year, and in the rains to hunts once a week. 
Some were even so energetic as to play tennis two 
or three times a week before breakfast, a practice 
which our less hardy successors have abandoned. 
We drove to office and out to dinner in dogcarts. 
Not in those days did the Junior Secretary or his 
wife regard a brougham as indispensable. Among 
the pleasantest meetings were hunt finishes, hospit- 
able gatherings where, at the end of the run, riders 
and their friends were rewarded with pegs and 
encouraged to dance. Jests and laughter filled the 
air. The cheerful subaltern leant over the veranda, 
encouraging a reluctant rider at the last show- 
jump ; " Give him his head, sir ; can't you see the 
pony wants to jump ?" Poor Cockeram ; one of the 
first to fall in the guerilla warfare in Upper Burma. 
The lotteries on the races were still fairly select 
meetings of friends and acquaintances. In 1885 
I attended them for the last time, and bandied 
quips with a famous special correspondent. In 
reply to his remark that we were making history, 
I made the obvious and unluckily too true reply 
that we left that to him. I am still somewhat sur- 
prised that he, an Irishman, should have thought it 
necessary gravely to explain the origin and meaning 
of his observation. 

The work in the Secretariat was hard enough, but 
not so overwhelming as in later times-. There was 
a staff of good old-fashioned clerks, most of whom 



92 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

had been in the office many years, whose experience 
compensated the somewhat primitive methods in- 
herited from days when Sir Arthur Phayre himself 
went daily to the Secretariat in Godwin Road. The 
office was quite efficient, bearing the impress of three 
excellent Secretaries, Major Street, Mr. Burgess, 
and Mr. Symes, each of the finest quality in his 
own way. Mr. Crosthwaite, whose name is associated 
with Burma more intensely than that of anyone 
save Sir Arthur Phayre, acted as Chief Commissioner 
for a year in 1883-84, during Mr. Bernard's absence 
on leave. 

About this time India was violently agitated by 
the Ilbert Bill. In all parts of India the bulk of the 
magisterial work is done by native officers. Living 
in places more or less remote were many Europeans, 
planters and others, whom it was thought undesir- 
able to subject to the jurisdiction of Indians. The 
law therefore ordained that only magistrates them- 
selves Europeans and of proved experience should 
exercise powers in criminal cases over persons classed 
as European British subjects. This was, I venture 
to say, a wise and necessary provision. By the 
Ilbert Bill it was proposed to abolish this distinction 
and to place Europeans and natives on the same 
footing in respect of criminal procedure. It was a 
doctrinaire proposal of the worst kind, subversive of 
the prestige of the ruling race, and quite uncalled 
for by the circumstances and exigencies of the time. 
One thing only can be said in its favour. It was 
offered as a voluntary boon, not as a concession to 
seditious clamour and agitation. By all classes of 



THE SECRETARIAT 93 

Europeans the proposal was vehemently opposed. 
In many parts, especially in Bengal, passionate 
excitement was stirred up. The Viceroy, believed 
to have been the only begetter of the Bill, seated on 
the Olympian heights of Simla, failed to realize the 
extent and force of the opposition to his project. 
Not till he came down to Calcutta did he under- 
stand the situation. In the capital there was 
enough visible ferment to indicate the seething 
passions beneath. Wild stories are told of the 
intentions of the European community, had the Bill 
been pressed. If Lord Ripon had not come to 
Calcutta, he would have continued in ignorance, 
surrounded only by officials, unblest by the saving- 
grace of contact with living public opinion. In 
Burma alone among the Provinces of India, the 
subject failed to kindle a spark of vital interest. 
There were few Europeans scattered through the 
country likely to be affected by the proposed change 
in the law. And, for reasons which it would not be 
difficult to analyze, Europeans in Burma have 
seldom been very clamorous in expression. By 
some of the more ardent spirits, however, it was 
felt that Rangoon ought not to be left entirely out 
of the movement. After much delay, a meeting to 
demonstrate and protest against the Bill was con- 
vened at Mr. Fowle's new Town Hall for one fine 
Saturday afternoon. On the morning of the ap- 
pointed day, the Rangoon Gazette published in 
advance an account of the meeting, with the names 
of the speakers very thinly disguised, and with 
parodies of the speeches they were expected to 



94 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

deliver. The plot was hatched in the Secretariat. 
Though I was pars exigua, the account was mainly 
written by Mr. Bayne. The secret was never 
disclosed, and the incident has no doubt long ago 
been forgotten. At the time our jeu cC esprit had a 
succes fou. This we knew by the wealth of abuse 
heaped on our unknown heads by correspondents of 
the rival newspaper, the Rangoon Times. Further 
ill-luck attended the meeting. Just before it 
opened, news came that a compromise had been 
effected, and that substantial modifications were to 
be made in the Bill. The meeting was held, and 
speeches, much as we had foretold, were delivered, 
but as the measure was already dead the demonstra- 
tion fell rather flat. 

For two or three months in 1884 I acted as 
Revenue Secretary and Director of Agriculture. 
In that capacity I signed and issued the first of the 
annual forecasts of the exportable surplus of the rice- 
crop. Candour compels me to confess that the 
signature was all that I contributed to this or any 
later forecast. For the first Mr. Bernard was 
entirely responsible. With some misgiving he 
raised the figure to 975,000 tons. These forecasts 
have been issued year by year ever since, and on the 
average have been so close to the actuals as to 
evoke the expressed admiration of the mercantile 
community. The latest forecast predicted a surplus 
of over 2,600,000 tons, a remarkable increase in less 
than thirty years. 

By another stroke of luck I acted as Secretary 
for three months early in 1885 in place of Mr. 



THE LAST SUBDIVISION 95 

Symes on privilege leave. Later in the year, owing 
to Mr. Burgess's return for a short time to the 
Secretariat, I had my last experience of subdi visional 
work. Mj^anaung, just above the Delta, but not in 
the dry tract, was one of the most charming sub- 
divisions. The Deputy-Commissioner, Mr. A. M. B. 
Irwin,* was most able and genial, an admirable 
chief whose knowledge of district work has never 
been surpassed. These months were pleasant and 
restful after the somewhat strenuous life of the 
Secretariat. The duties were light, the house com- 
fortable, the riding good. Now a railway runs 
through the subdivision, but till recently all travel- 
ling was by unmetaUed roads, jungle paths, and 
along the embankment which restrained the river. 
Two township officers, one at Kanaung, one at 
Kyangin, shared the ordinary work. 

Among the reforms introduced by Mr. Bernard 
was the selection of a certain proportion of M^o-oks 
by competitive examination. Mj^o-dks, it will be 
remembered, are officers, generally natives of the 
Province, who have charge of townships. Previously 
they had been appointed by Government solely on 
the recommendation of Commissioners and other 
high officers. Mr. Bernard devised a system com- 
bining nomination and competition. But a great 
many direct appointments were still made. The 
system is still in force except that recently I threw 
the competitive examination open to all young men 
of good health and character. On the whole the 
plan has worked well. A great many of the M^o- 
* Sir Alfred Irwin, C.S.I., lately a Judge of the Chief Court. 



96 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

6ks appointed after examination have proved them- 
selves very valuable officers, I agree that many of 
our best Myo-oks and Extra Assistant Commissioners 
have been men of character and integrity, well 
educated in their own language, but hardly likely to 
secure appointments by open competition. No one 
appreciates these men more highly than I do. But 
the scheme of administration becomes yearly more 
complex. And in an increasing number of offices a 
good knowledge of English is essential. By the 
competitive system, if a high standard is maintained, 
some of the best among the educated youth are 
attracted to Government service, while the reserva- 
tion of a number of posts for direct appointment 
keeps open the door for those who are distinguished 
by birth and character rather than by academic 
aptitude. The objection that under the open com- 
petitive system we have no guarantee of candidates' 
social standing has very little weight in Burma. It 
is a country where fraternity and equality are 
realities, where class distinctions are of little value. 
One of my M^o-oks was of the old school. Formerly 
a pleader, he had earned his appointment by being 
instrumental in the capture of the Myingun Prince.* 
The other was a competitioner, and not perhaps a 
good example of my thesis. A man of good educa- 

* The Myingun Prince was a son of Mind6n Min, who in the 
year 1 867 rebelled against his father. Defeated, he fled to Lower 
Burma, where he continued to plan mischief. He was deported 
to India ; later, he escaped to French territory, and lived for 
many years at Saigon. He was long a source of some apprehen- 
sion to Government, and a likely cause of trouble ; but I think 
for some time he has been regarded as harmless. 



THE LAST SUBDIVISION 97 

tion who had been a schoolmaster, he seems to have 
missed his vocation by becoming a Judge and 
magistrate. His wife, a clever bustling woman, 
was thought to supply some of her husband's 
deficiencies. It was said, probably untruly, that on 
occasion she would come into Court and stir up the 
peons* and punka- pullers. TheM^o-ok's house was 
a pleasant place to visit. He had two charming 
little daughters of tender years, who, in a most 
engaging way, used to stand up and recite to 
visitors " LordUUin's Daughter," and other English 
verses. My friend afterwards resumed his original 
profession, which no doubt suited him better. His 
son is an officer of great ability and distinction. 

Recalling my quiet life at M^anaung, I am re- 
minded of some instances of Burmese superstition. 
Some fishermen of that place before starting work 
made the customary offerings to nats. One of them 
placed his offering of rice in a dish from which the 
dogs were fed. His companions exclaimed at this 
impious act and warned him of the consequences. 
That day, when they were all in their boats, a 
monstrous crocodile appeared. " See," said the 
fishermen, "the result of your wickedness." The 
offender took no heed of the warning, but next day 
repeated his insult to the nats. So he filled the cup 
of his iniquity. That morning, in the midst of the 
fishing, the crocodile again appeared. This time the 
contemner of nats was knocked out of his boat and 
perished in the waters. 

Burmans are firm believers in ghosts, know well 
* Messengers. 

7 



98 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUBMA 

the danger of passing graveyards after dark, and are 
convinced of the existence of good and evil spirits. 
I remember one curious case in which superstitious 
terror had a lamentable issue. In the middle of the 
rains a man was cutting grass in a field. The rain 
pattered noisily on his kamauk.* Suddenly he 
heard close behind him what sounded like an un- 
earthly voice. In a panic he turned hastily and 
made a cut with his sickle-shaped knife, unhappily 
with fatal effect. The speaker was a harmless 
villager, whose voice, by evil chance, was singularly 
gruff. In a moment, recognizing the catastrophe, 
the grass-cutter gave his best attention to the victim 
of his fear, but in vain. The police quaintly re- 
ported that the man had cut in the direction of the 
sound, " thinking it was a devil, but admitted that 
he was mistaken." I am glad to say that we were 
not so pedantic as to bring the grass-cutter to trial 
for his misadventure which he sincerely regretted. 

* Broad hat made of bamboo. 



CHAPTEE VII 

THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 

Me. Burgess having gone to act as Commissioner, I 
was recalled to the Secretariat in some haste, in my 
former capacity as Junior Secretary. It was in the 
midst of the excitement of a probable rupture with 
Upper Burma. Our relations with the Court of 
Mandalay had long ceased to be cordial. So long 
ago as 1879 our representative had been withdrawn, 
and such communications as were necessary with the 
Burmese Government had been conducted by letter. 
In the absence of the Resident matters gradually 
drifted from bad to worse. British subjects, 
travellers and traders from Lower Burma, were 
subjected to insult and violence by local officials, 
and representations to the central authority demand- 
ing redress were generally fruitless. In contraven- 
tion of the express terms of the Treaty of 1867, 
monopolies were created to the detriment of trade 
both in Upper and Lower Burma. Owing to the 
weakness and corruption of the Burmese Govern- 
ment, society became thoroughly disorganized, so 
that turbulent tracts on the frontier became a 
standing menace to the peace of our districts. At 

99 



100 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

the same time, the Burmese Government showed a 
marked and persistent anxiety to enter into alHances 
with foreign Powers, in such a manner and to such 
an extent as to give ground for apprehension that 
grave poKtical trouble might result. While the 
Indian Government was unrepresented in Mandalay, 
representatives of France and Italy were welcomed, 
and two separate embassies were sent to Europe, 
one under the guise of a merely commercial mission, 
for the purpose of contracting new and if possible 
close alliances with European Powers. Neither of 
these missions visited England or showed any desire 
to win the friendship of representatives of the British 
Government at the Courts to which the Burmese 
envoys were accredited. Throughout the reign of 
King Mind6n, young scions of families of leading 
men about the Court were sent to England, France, 
and Italy to study the language and manners of 
European countries. In the reign of his successor 
this policy was continued, with the studied omission 
of England.* 

Having no Resident, we had to find means of 
keeping ourselves informed of events in Mandalay. 
One of our correspondents was Mr. A. E. Rawlings, 
the Postmaster, who for a moderate subsidy wrote 
periodical news-letters to the Secretary. He sent 
much useful and interesting matter. There was 
also another correspondent whose reports were extra- 
ordinarily accurate and instructive, and from whose 
keen vision no secret transaction was hidden. 

* Most of this paragraph is extracted verbatim from my 
Report on the Administration of Upper Burma in 1 886. 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 101 

It has always seemed to me that the proximate 
cause of the annexation of Upper Burma was the 
patriotic and enlightened Minister known as the 
Kinwun Mingyi. Some years before, this gentle- 
man had travelled in Europe as head of a commercial 
mission, and had been received with great distinc- 
tion. His progress was a triumph ; insignia of 
Continental orders, illuminated addresses of English 
manufacturing towns, were showered upon him as if 
he had been Minister of the Great Mogul. To us 
who realize the insignificance of the King of Burma 
as a potentate, these proceedings savour of the 
ridiculous. During this visit the Kinwun Mingyi 
obtained some superficial knowledge of European 
politics and of the relations between the Great 
Powers. Many years later, when there was no 
longer a British Resident at Mandalay, and when 
the path seemed clear of obstacles, the Mingyi con- 
ceived the ingenious plan of contracting political 
relations and making treaties with several States, 
such as France, Germany, and Italy. The subtle 
intention was to play off one against another, so 
that, while none would have predominant influence, 
all would be interested in opposing and thwarting 
the ambitious designs of Great Britain. There was 
some statesmanship in the project, but not quite 
enough ; and with the best intentions the Mingyi 
compassed the downfall of the dynasty of which he 
was a devoted servant. By the autumn of 1885 
negotiations with France had made good progress. 
A French Consul was appointed to Mandalay, and 
plans for the foundation of a French bank were 



102 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

initiated. A treaty was provisionally concluded, 
though never formally ratified. The ostensible 
cause of the rupture with the Burmese Court was 
the imposition of an enormous fine on the Bombay 
Burma Trading Corporation, a British company 
carrying on extensive operations in Upper Burma 
forests. Probably in any case the British Government 
would have intervened, on account of the treatment 
received by the Corporation. But the ultimate 
cause of intervention was the apprehension lest 
France or some other European Power should estab- 
lish a preponderant influence in Upper Burma, and 
create a situation which would render our position 
in Lower Burma intolerable. 

When I got back to Rangoon, the preliminary 
correspondence with India and Mandalay was 
starting. It was all desperately urgent and deadly 
secret, and the Chief Commissioner and his Secre- 
tary were more than fuUy occupied. The Burmese 
answer to our first representation was deliberately 
curt and discourteous. Under the orders of the 
Government of India an ultimatum was therefore 
sent to the King of Burma. He was required to 
suspend the execution of the decree against the 
Corporation, to receive at Mandalay an envoy from 
the Viceroy with a view to the settlement of the 
matter in issue, and for the future to permit the 
residence at the capital of an agent of the Indian 
Government, who should be received and treated 
with the respect due to the Government which he 
represented. It was further intimated that the 
Burmese Government would be required to regulate 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 103 

its external relations in accordance with advice of 
the Government of India, and to afford facilities for 
opening up British trade with China.* 

The ultimatum was despatched on the 22nd of 
October, 1885. It was taken by Captain Cooper, of 
the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, on the steamer 
Ashley Eden, which went specially to Mandalay for 
the purpose. An answer was required by the 10th of 
November. In default of receiving a reply Captain 
Cooper was instructed to leave Mandalay on a fixed 
date. The mission was of a hazardous nature. 
Captain Cooper discharged it with intrepidity and 
skill. He remained with his steamer fires banked, 
and he returned bearing the haughty and uncom- 
promising answer of the Burmese Government. As 
he passed down the river he ran the gauntlet of the 
fire of forts on the bank. Such was the Burmese 
notion of the courtesy due to envoys. The answer was 
received in Rangoon on the 9th of November. Two 
days earlier the King of Burmah issued a proclama- 
tion calling on his subjects to rally round him to resist 
the unjust demands of the British Government, and 
expressing his determination to efface these heretic 
foreigners and conquer and annex their country.f 

When the ultimatum was considered by the 
Burmese Court and Government, there seems to 
have been a division of counsel. The two highest 
officers of State were two Mingyis, the virtuous 
and temperate Kinwun, the corrupt and blood- 
thirsty Taingda. The Queen, Slipaya-14t, was 
certainly present when the situation was discussed. 
* Administrative Report for 1886 ut supra, t Ibid. 



104 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

The Kinwun advised moderation and diplomacy ; 
the Taingda was for blood and fury. The Queen's 
voice was for resistance. She had the unexampled 
impertinence to tell the Kinwun Mingyi, a man of 
mature and reverend years, her father's trusted 
Councillor, that when she had beaten the English 
she would dress him in a tamein* and send him to 
live among the women. The counsels of unreason 
prevailed. The proclamation was issued, and futile 
resistance was undertaken. 

Meanwhile, in anticipation of an unfavourable 
reply to the ultimatum, preparations for the advance 
on Mandalay had been rapidly made. The speed 
with which the expedition was organized and set 
in motion was almost incredible. The first orders for 
the mobilization of troops were issued by Govern- 
ment of India on or about the 19th of October ; the 
expeditionary force crossed the frontier on the 14th 
of November, 1885. The 'force was of all arms, 
including some Madras Cavalry and some mounted 
infantry. Except the detachment of the Rangoon 
Volunteer Rifles, which patriotically volunteered for 
active service, all the troops were sent from India. 
For the promptitude of the despatch from Rangoon, 
the chief credit is due to Mr. Bernard himself, who 
placed all the resources of his position and all his 
personal energy and experience at the disposal of 
the military authorities. Every day saw him on 
the river-bank supervising and urging on the prep- 
arations. Much praise is due also to the Irrawaddy 
Flotilla Company, which made every vessel of their 

* A woman's skirt. 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 105 

fleet available and carried the whole expedition. Of 
course, this was not all pure patriotism on the part 
of the Company ; but the service rendered by them 
was of inestimable value, and contributed largely to 
the brilliant success of the operations. The com- 
mand of the force was entrusted to Major-General 
Harry Prendergast, V.C.,* a most gallant and dis- 
tinguished officer, who had already served in Burma, 
and was thus specially qualified for the appointment. 
Already, in the pursuit of intelligence, he had even 
penetrated into Upper Burma in peaceful guise. 
In command of brigades were Brigadier- General 
G. S. White, V.C.,t Brigadier-General Norman, and 
Brigadier-General Forde ; while the staff" included 
Major W. P. Symons,:f then at the beginning of a 
glorious career. The troops were specially enjoined 
to treat the people of the country with kindness and 
consideration. One precept directed that in address- 
ing a Burman the soldier should say " Kinbya," not 
" Hey, Johnny !" A book of Burmese phrases, 
laboriously compiled by a gentleman unacquainted 
with the language, was profusely distributed. It is 
pleasant to be able to record, with perfect honesty, 
that never did army of occupation behave with more 
restraint and moderation, or more readily win the 
esteem and respect of a subject people. 

* The late General Sir Harry Prendergast, V.C, G.C.B. 

t The late Field-Marshal Sir George White, V.C, G.CB., 
G.CS.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.CV.O., O.M., Commander-in- 
Chief in India, the heroic defender of Ladysmith. 

I The late General Sir W. Penn Symons, K.C.B., who served 
with the highest distinction in Burma and India, and met a 
soldier's death at Talana Hill. 



106 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

The Chief Civil and Political Officer with the 
expedition was Colonel E. B. Sladen* of the Burma 
Commission. Four young officers Mr. R. Phayre, 
G.S.,t Mr. A. S. Fleming, C.S., Captain G. S. Eyre, 
of the Commission, and Mr. G. G. Collins accom- 
panied the force as civil officers. Mr. R. C. Steven- 
son, also of the police, one of the foremost Burmese 
scholars, was attached to General Prendergast as 
chief interpreter. 

On the 14th November the frontier was crossed, 
on the 17th Minhla, on the 23rd Pagan, on the 
25th Myingyan were successively occupied. Except 
at Minhla, where the fort which still stands on the 
river-bank was not taken without a brisk fight, 
scarcely any resistance was encountered. And as 
the flotilla moved up the river, even in Mandalay 
the determination to resist began to fail. Just 
before the expedition reached Ava the Kinwun 
Mingyi arrived, and after some negotiation arranged 
the unconditional surrender of the capital and of the 
Royal Family. On the 26th and 27'th November 
the forts at Ava and Sagaing were given up, and 
the troops at Ava laid down their arms. On the 
28th the flotilla moored off the town, and General 
Prendergast occupied Mandalay. The city and the 
palace were surrounded, while Colonel Sladen, with 
the cool courage which was his best distinction, 
entered the palace alone, and remained there for a 
day and a night, settling the details of the King's 

* The late Sir Edward Sladen. 

t Nephew of Sir Arthur Phayre ; he died for his country in 
June, 1886, at Padein, near Minbu. 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 107 

surrender. Next day, in a little summer-house in 
the palace garden, King Thebaw gave himself up to 
the victorious General, and the dynasty of Alaung- 
pS,yd, ruled no more. After all, it was a mushroom 
growth, having held sway for little more than 130 
years.* The King and his two Queens, with their 
mother and her eldest daughter, were driven through 
the streets of Mandalay in little bullock-drawn 
carriages, the only vehicles available. They were 
placed on board the steamer Thooreah, and conveyed 
to Rangoon. The flimsy little summer-house fell 
into decay, and no longer exists. The tablet which 
marks its site, and commemorates the most strikmg 

* The subjoined table shows the succession of the Kings ot 
the House of Alaungpaya. The dates and details were gathered 
from the lips of Ministers in 1886 : 

Alaungpaya (1752-1760). 



2. Naungdaw 

Mintayagyi 

(1760-1763). 

5. Paungga Min 
(reigned seven 
days in 1781). 



6. Bodaw Paya 
(1781-1819). 



Einshe Min 
(died before 
his father). 



3. Sinbyu-yin 
Mintayagyi 
(1763-1776). 

4. Singu 

Mintayagi 

(1776-1781). 



7. Bagyidaw Paya 
(1819-1838). 



9. Pagan Min 
(1846-1852). 



8. Shwebo Min (King Tharrawaddy) 
(1838-1846). 



10. Mind6n Min 
(1852-1878). 

11. Thebaw Min 
(1878-1885). 



^08 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

^kely to be as contented there as elsewhere. Two 
of the Ministers and a few retainers were with diffi- 
culty persuaded to accompany their fallen master. 
The Ministers speedily returned to Mandalay. So 
did most of the retainers after one little Chin maid 
had given some trouble by running up a tree and 
declining to come down, because Sup3,yd-lat, whose 
temper misfortune may have sharpened, had smacked 
her. 

The rapidity with which the conquest of the 
Burmese King was effected must always be a subject 
of astonishment. Many times in the previous wars 
Burmese soldiers had offered stout resistance, fight- 
ing fiercely behind stockades. That the martial 
spirit still survived was abundantly shown after- 
wards in the years of desultory fighting described in 
Sir Charles Crosthwaite's classic history of the 
pacification of Burma. The truth is, the central 
Government was rotten at the core, corrupt and 
inefficient and singularly impecunious. The balance 
found in the Treasury at Mandalay was about 
£5,000, not a very large sum to finance a war. 
There was no organized Burmese army, with 
captains versed in the art of war, capable of meet- 
ing in the field disciplined troops under trained 
leaders. But the main cause of the downfall of the 
Burmese kingdom, with hardly a blow struck in its 
defence, was no doubt the speed with which prepara- 
tions for the advance were made, and the skill, 
swiftness, and resolution with which General Pren- 
dergast directed the progress to Mandalay. If a 
little more time had been allowed to the Burmese, 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 

aggerated. She seems to have been of a jealoui>^ 
temper, and to have checked any inclination on the 
part of her husband to follow the footsteps of 
Mindon Min. Doubtless it went hard with any 
maid who attracted the King's attention. On one 
of the golden doors of the palace used to be shown 
bloodstains, marks of a little hand, signs of the 
tragic end of a Princess who had incurred the 
Queen's wrath. (I am aware of the learned explana- 
tion of these marks, but the legend is far more 
interesting.) Beyond this there is no credible 
evidence of her cruelty, nor is it well established 
that she ruled the State. Clearly she wielded some 
influence ; but apart from the story of her speech 
to the Kinwun Mingyi, the most arrogant action 
imputed to her was that she used to have her meals 
before the King. Of course, this was very unusual 
and unseemly for a Burmese woman of any class. 
It hardly shows that she was paramount in the 
direction of the kingdom. The royal exiles were 
transferred to the R.I.M.S. Clive, and, after remain- 
ing for a few days in Rangoon, were taken to 
Madras. They were finally transferred to Batna- 
giri in the Bombay Presidency, where King Thebaw 
and Supayd-lat still live. The poor little second 
Queen, of whom nothing, good or bad, has ever 
been heard, died last year. An irresponsible j ournalist 
lately suggested that Ratnagiri was an unsuitable 
place of abode for these fallen dignitaries. It is one 
of the best places that could be chosen. They and 
their family have been quite healthy. As they 
cannot be allowed to return to Burma, they are 



A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

ikely to be as contented there as elsewhere. Two 
of the Ministers and a few retainers were with diffi- 
culty persuaded to accompany their fallen master. 
The Ministers speedily returned to Mandalay. So 
did most of the retainers after one little Chin maid 
had given some trouble by running up a tree and 
declining to come down, because SupSyd-lat, whose 
temper misfortune may have sharpened, had smacked 
her. 

The rapidity with which the conquest of the 
Burmese King was effected must always be a subject 
of astonishment. Many times in the previous wars 
Burmese soldiers had offered stout resistance, fight- 
ing fiercely behind stockades. That the martial 
spirit still survived was abundantly shown after- 
wards in the years of desultory fighting described in 
Sir Charles Crosthwaite's classic history of the 
pacification of Burma. The truth is, the central 
Government was rotten at the core, corrupt and 
inefficient and singularly impecunious. The balance 
found in the Treasury at Mandalay was about 
£5,000, not a very large sum to finance a war. 
There was no organized Burmese army, with 
captains versed in the art of war, capable of meet- 
ing in the field disciplined troops under trained 
leaders. But the main cause of the downfall of the 
Burmese kingdom, with hardly a blow struck in its 
defence, was no doubt the speed with which prepara- 
tions for the advance were made, and the skill, 
swiftness, and resolution with which General Pren- 
dergast directed the progress to Mandalay. If a 
little more time had been allowed to the Burmese, 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 111 

the ascent would have been more arduous, though 
not less effectual. The celerity with which the 
operations were carried out is probably paralleled 
in history only by the advance of the Balkan armies 
towards Constantinople. 

While opposition to the main force was feeble and 
faint-hearted, at the outset of hostilities reprisals 
were taken on Englishmen employed in the forests 
or on the river. It was, indeed, only by the 
humanity or prudence of some local officials that any 
of these isolated Englishmen escaped. A Thandaw- 
zin * was sent to deal with Bombay-Burma men on 
the Chindwin. Four of them were barbarously 
murdered. The murderer was Thandawzin So Bon, 
who disappeared immediately. I sought him dili- 
gently, but in vain, for nearly twenty-five years. 
If he stiU lives, this record of his name may yet 
bring to him the reward of his crime. Four other 
forest men were saved by the intervention of the 
Wun t of Mingin. 

Upper Burma had long been the refuge of persons 
who had pressing reasons for leaving Lower Burma ; 
in fact, as one departmental Report said, it was a 
"perfect Arcadia." Not only thieves, robbers, 
dacoits, and murderers, but the bailiff who had lost 
at Komi the proceeds of Court sales, the Postmaster 
who was short in his collections, the clerk who had 
stolen witnesses' subsistence money, all found an 
asylum across the border. Demands for extradition 

* Royal Herald. 

t fVun, a local official of varying rank ; probably in this case 
about equal to a subdivisional officer. 



112 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

were made, but practically never with any effect. 
The Wun of Mingin was among many who felt it 
necessary to take measures for their security if, as 
seemed likely. Upper Burma came under British 
rule. Long years ago, this astute man had been 
Akunwun* of the rich district of Rangoon or 
Hanthawaddy. One morning, having packed on 
elephants the contents of the Treasury, some lakhs 
of rupees, he fled with his plunder across the frontier. 
There, with his wicked prize, he was a man of im- 
portance, obtained office, and in process of time was 
placed in charge of Mingin on the Chindwin River. 
Partly moved by humanity, for he was as kindly a 
man as ever scooped a Treasury, partly, I surmise, 
because he was shrewd enough to foresee the down- 
fall of the Burmese Government, he protected the 
Bombay-Burma men who feU into his hands, saved 
them from iU-usage and death, and made them over 
to a small British force which early visited the 
Chindwin. The Wun's humanity was suitably 
rewarded. His delinquency was condoned and he^ 
became a Mj^o-ok. Though he was believed always 
to be tainted with the corrupt habits of Upper 
Burma, he served us moderately well. The fact that 
he had saved the lives of our countrymen was never 
forgotten and would have covered many sins. 
Finally, he died in his bed, up to the day of his 
death in receipt of a pension from Government. I 
knew very well both him and his wife, who had 
accompanied him in his flight from Rangoon. 
Naturally, we did not in plain words discuss that 
* Head revenue oflScer. 



THE TAKING OF MANDALAY 113 

incident. But reference to early days was some- 
times made, and the old lady admitted that the 
Wun had been frivolous and light-hearted in his 
youth. When I knew him, he was grave and 
reverend. This is not the only instance in which 
persons guilty of past offences in Lower Burma 
purged their guilt by good service in troubled times 
and were received back into Government employ. 
I found it convenient to keep in mind their 
histories. 

Another case of the cruel treatment of Europeans 
was the seizure of a Flotilla steamer at Moda, be- 
tween Mandalay and Bhamo, and the imprisonment 
and ill-treatment of crew and officers. Daily was 
Captain Redman led out as if to execution. He, 
too, escaped by some friendly intervention, or the 
hesitation of his captors to proceed to the last 
extremity. He was, however, very badly used. 
The two local officers responsible for these barbarities 
were brought down to Mandalay, fined and im- 
prisoned, and publicly whipped by the Chief Com- 
missioner's order. 



CHAPTEE VIII 

EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 

As speedily as possible, Mr. Bernard went up to 
Mandalay, leaving Lower Burma practically under 
the administration of the Secretary, Mr. Symes. 
He went up in the old R.I.M.S. Irrawaddy, em- 
barking at Prome. With him were a few civil and 
police officers, destined with those who had accom- 
panied the expedition to form the nucleus of the 
Civil Administration. Colonel T. Lowndes,* In- 
spector-General of Police, Captain C. H. E. Adam- 
son,! of the Commission, Mr. G. M. S. Carter, 
and Mr. M. J. Chisholm, of the Police, were on 
board, and I had the luck to go as Junior Secre- 
tary. We landed at Minhla and inspected the 
fort, now garrisoned by Bengal Infantry, and the 
scene of the fight ; at Myingyan, where we saw 
marks of our cannonade ; at Pak6kku, where the 
Chief Commissioner was received by the Mj^othugyi- 
gadaw, \ a lady of large bulk, of high spirit, and of 
cheerful humour, who was administering the town 

* Major-General T. Lowndes, I.S.C. 
t Colonel C. H. E. Adamson, CLE. 
\ Wife (in this case widow) of the chief local authority, 
114 



EAELY DAYS AT MANDALAY 115 

and district in the name of her son. The old lady 
was extremely affable, and professed loyalty to the 
new Government. To the best of her ability, I 
believe she carried out her engagement. Her posi- 
tion was quite in accordance with the practice in 
Burma, where, as already stated, women take a 
prominent part in public affairs. She survived for 
some years, and was always our good friend. 

On the 15th of December, 1885, Mr. Bernard 
arrived at Mandalay, and, with his staff, took up his 
quarters in the Palace where Sir Harry Prendergast 
and his officers were already installed. Mr. Bernard 
occupied a set of rooms behind the Eastern Audience 
Hall. Colonel Lowndes and I shook down in some 
good masonry buildings hard by, which had been 
used as waiting-rooms by the Ministers coming to 
transact business with the King. My abode was 
immediately under the wooden tower in the south- 
east corner of the palace, whence Queen SupSyd-lat 
is said, the legend is apocryphal, to have viewed 
the march of the British force from the shore to 
the city. Behind me was the shed of the White 
Elephant, which had died a few days after the 
occupation, feeling, no doubt, that his use was at an 
end. Opposite, fronted by a pillared terrace, in the 
midst of which played a fountain, was a charming 
pavilion faced with white stucco, of modern design 
and construction, used by the King as a morning- 
room. Mr. Bernard adopted it for the same pur- 
pose. We were all most kindly made honorary 
members of the Headquarter Mess, established in 
spacious rooms adjacent to the Royal Theatre. 



116 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BURMA 

There, with the chief military officers, we dined 
every night, and often played a quiet rubber. For 
breakfast and luncheon, during his stay in Manda- 
lay, Mr. Bernard kept open house for his staff. Mr. 
Bernard's breakfasts were refreshing interludes in 
the busy round of official work. Round that hos- 
pitable board often sat welcome guests, visitors of 
distinction, officers passing through Mandalay bring- 
ing a breath of the old world to our new heritage. 
From time to time every member] of the Viceroy's 
Council came to see the latest kingdom added to 
the Empire. Perhaps the visitor who made the 
deepest impression was Sir George Chesney, Military 
Member of Council, a man of wide culture and 
literary distinction, moving on a higher plane than 
the ordinary Indian official. (No offence to the 
ordinary official, honest man, whose stock of late 
years has unjustly depreciated.) Sir George Ches- 
ney seemed to have a wider range, a more extensive 
outlook ; his premature death deprived the world of 
a statesman. In very early days came to Mandalay, 
as the Chief Commissioner's guests, some charming 
Americans, among them a lady of exceptional grace 
and beauty. Warned by secretaries and aides-de- 
camp that she could not possibly go to Mandalay, 
where conditions of war still obtained, she is said 
to have gone pouting to the great Lord Sahib, by 
whom she was assured that she should certainly 
go, and that her path should be strewn with roses. 
'Twere churlish not to believe this pretty story. 
My impression is that the men of the party 
tried to buy the Palace as it stood, and succeeded 



EAULY DAYS AT MANDALAY 117 

in acquiring a gilded sentry-box. I may wrong 
them. 

Most strange and almost incredible it seemed to 
range at will the halls and corridors, where hardly a 
fortnight before the Lord of many White Elephants 
had kept his State. The Palace was in exactly the 
same condition as when occupied by the Burmese 
Court. As a Burman official said, in another place, 
the scene was the same, the actors only were 
changed. Barbarous Byzantine mirrors of colossal 
size still lined the walls ; a motley heap of modern 
toys, French clocks and fans, mechanical singing 
birds, and the like, mingled with lovely specimens 
of Burmese carving, gold and silver and lacquered 
trays and boxes, forming a heterogeneous collection 
characteristic of degenerate taste. Rooms so lately 
tenanted by King, Queens, and their butterfly 
attendants, aglow with light and colour, were now 
occupied as sober offices and quarters. Khaki 
uniforms, boots, and the ringing of spurs replaced 
gay pasos and tameins and soft pattering of naked 
feet. The Palace, it must be confessed, was a mass 
of somewhat tawdry buildings, mostly of wood and 
of no great antiquity, desecrated by corrugated iron 
roofs, yet of interest as a unique specimen of Bur- 
mese domestic architecture. Perhaps the most 
striking features were the great halls of audience, 
supported by mighty pillars of teak, red and golden, 
the several Royal thrones often described, and the 
P^athat, the graceful terraced spire surmounting 
the eastern throne-room, which travellers have been 
taught to call the Centre of the Universe. The 



118 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

title was invented by an enterprising journalist, but 
will, no doubt, always be cited as a mark of Bur- 
mese arrogance. Besides the rooms reserved for the 
King, then occupied by Sir Harry Prendergast, the 
Palace afforded accommodation for the Queens and 
for Ambassadors, attendants, pages, maids of honour, 
and the usual entourage of an Eastern Court. For 
some years the Palace continued to be inhabited. 
The King's audience-hall was used as a church ; the 
corresponding haU on the west, the Queen's, as a 
club house. A few of the buildings on the Palace 
platform were of masonry work, built for the King 
by some of the foreigners who swarmed at the 
Burmese Court. Like the famous A-tu-ma-shi* 
monasteiy, these made no pretence of being in 
Burmese style, and were grievous to the sesthetic 
eye. In the Palace enclosure was the Council 
Chamber where the Hlutdaw| deliberated. Oppo- 
site was a model of the Kyaung,J where King 
Thebaw spent his novitiate. This also was for 
some time used as a church. All round the Palace 
were charming gardens, intersected by watercourses, 
with many a grotto and pavilion, where gay young 
Princes and Princesses, pages and maids of honour, 
idled away the pleasant hours. Girdling and pro- 
tecting the Palace and its precincts was an inner 
wall of masonry, and round this again a palisade of 
stout teak logs. The main gates of the palace corre- 
sponded with those of the city. Just within the 
eastern gate stood a white tower, the Bohozin, 
whereon was a mighty drum, the Bohozi, struck by 
* Incomparable. t Council of Ministers. J Monastery. 



EAKLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 119 

hereditary beaters to record the hour and to assiire 
the world that the King was in his palace. After 
the occupation, the beaters fled. We were gravely 
warned that the silence of the Bohozi would be 
interpreted as a sign that anarchy prevailed and 
that there was no Government. The beaters were 
sought out and reinstated. As soon as the 
periodical sound of the drum was heard once more, 
we were solemnly advised that this would never do. 
The beating of the Bohozi indicated that the 
Burmese Government still existed, and that we were 
merely temporary sojourners. So the beaters were 
retired on suitable terms, and the Bohozi was sent 
to the Phayre Museum. I need hardly say that it 
did not matter a brass farthing whether the drum 
was beaten or not. 

The Palace stood in the middle of what we came 
to call the city. Built on somewhat high ground 
about three miles from the shore, the city (myo) was 
a perfect square, surrounded by a rampart of earth, 
battlemented waUs, and a moat on which water-lilies 
floated in lovely profusion. Each face of the walls 
measured one mile and a quarter. Between the 
walls and the moat was a stretch of turf, as if 
expressly provided for a morning gallop, but some- 
what spoilt by sudden holes. Five great gates, 
two on the west, one on each other side, opened 
through the wall, each approached by a bridge over 
the moat. At every gate was a red wooden pillar, 
with an inscription recording the date and circum- 
stances of its erection. Stories, which we need not 
believe, are told of the burial of living victims 



120 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

beneath these pillars. Within the city walls, all 
round the palace, the space was closely packed with 
Burmese houses. Here were the dwellings of 
Ministers and other high officers, each surrounded 
by an ample compound (win) where lived a whole 
village of relations and retainers. Here also were 
the humbler dwellings of minor officials, soldiers, 
and the miscellaneous rabble collected about an 
Eastern Court. 

Now all is changed. The Palace remains a 
melancholy memento of Burmese sovereignty. The 
halls are tenantless, and the footstep of the infre- 
quent visitor rings hoUow on its floors. A fragment 
of the teak stockade is preserved. The rest is 
replaced by a neat post and rail fence. All the 
native houses have disappeared. The space within 
the walls is occupied by barracks, mess-houses, 
dwellings, polo-ground, and the like. The last 
Burmese house, now removed, was that of the 
Kinwun Mingyi. 

The town, as distinguished from the city, extended 
to the river on the west and to Amarapura on the 
south, peopled mostly by non-officials living in 
wooden houses and bamboo huts, with here and 
there a white masonry building, the dwelling of an 
Indian trader. In the midst was the great bazaar^ 
the Zegyo. An embankment protected the low-lying 
land from the river in flood. Through the town 
crept the Shwe-ta-chaung, a malodorous stream, on 
whose banks still stood the old British Residency 
in a grove of tamarind-trees. While in the city 
the roads were straight and hard, the streets of the 



EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 121 

town were unmetalled, alternately dust and mud. 
The first work undertaken by the army of occupa- 
tion was the construction of four roads to the shore. 
With military simplicityj but perhaps with some 
want of imagination, these were called A, B, C, and 
D Roads, names which still cling ta- them. To the 
south was the Yakaing Paya, commonly called- the 
Arakan Pagoda, the shrine of the great image of 
Gaudama Buddha, brought across the hills from 
Arakan. Second only in interest to the Shwe 
Dag6n Pagoda, it attracted throngs of pilgrims. In 
one of the courtyards reclined battered bronze statues 
of magic virtue. If you had a pain, you rubbed the 
correspondent part of one of these statues, and 
obtained relief. In a neighbouring pond were sacred 
turtles, who came at call to be fed. 

East of the city rose the Shan Hills, with the 
little hill of Yankintaung* alone in the middle 
distance. The evening glow reflected on the 
Eastern Hills misled the unobservant to rhapsodize 
on the beautiful effect of the sun setting behind 
Yankintaung. North stood Mandalay Hill, a cool 
and pleasant height, ascended by stone steps or by 
a winding bridle-path ; near its pagoda- covered 
summit towered a stately upright statue of the 
Buddha, his right arm extended towards the city, 
as it were the palladium of the capital. At the 
foot lay the A-tu-ma-shi (the Incomparable Monas- 
tery), a large white masonry structure of modern 
design, built by an Italian. Here sat another 
colossal image of the Buddha, in whose forehead 

* The Hill of Peace. 



122 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

sparkled a diamond of unequalled size and lustre.* 
Hard by stood the Ku-tho-daw PSya.f surrounded 
by a multitude of small shrines covering alabaster 
slabs, on which was inscribed the Law of the Buddha. 
This pious work commemorated its founder, the 
Einshemin, Mind6n Min's brother, who lost his 
life in the rebellion of the Myingun Mintha in 1867. 
Gone now are the Incomparable Monastery and the 
statue on the hill, both accidentally destroyed by 
fire some years later. 

In December, 1885, the situation in Mandalay, 
and, indeed, in Upper Burma generally, was very 
curious. Sir Harry Prendergast was in supreme 
military command. Colonel Sladen was the chief 
civil authority. The future of Upper Burma was 
still under discussion between the Chief Commis- 
sioner, the Government of India, and the Secretary 
of State (Lord Randolph Churchill). It might be 
decided to annex the country, or it might be thought 
better to set up a new King, and to make Upper 
Burma a protected State. Pending the decision, 
an attempt was made provisionally to carry on the 
Government on the same lines as before the occupa- 
tion. Although the King of Burma was an absolute, 
not a constitutional, monarch, there was a Council 
of State (the Hlutdaw), an advisory and executive 
body with no legislative powers. It consisted of 
the Wungyis, or Mingyis, the four highest officers 

* This stone disappeared the day after the occupation of 
Mandalay. It was never suggested that any of the force of 
occupation was guilty of the theft. 

f Pagoda of Royal Merit. 



EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 123 

of State ; four Atwin Wuns, high officers of the 
Palace ; and four Wundauks, props or assistants of 
the Wungyis. Under their orders was a crowd of 
secretaries or clerks (Sayedawgyi). The country 
was governed by Wuns, each of whom administered 
a local area, and received orders from the Hlutdaw 
collectively, or from individual members thereof. 
Mandalay was in charge of two Myowuns (town 
magistrates), the Myowun U Pe Si,* and the 
Shwehlan Myowun. Temporarily, the Hlutdaw 
was maintained in its powers and functions, the 
place of the King being taken by Colonel Sladen, 
There was one important innovation. Over all was 
the Chief Commissioner. The Hlutdaw issued a 
proclamation to all Wuns and local officers, directing 
them to carry on their duties as before under the 
command of the Central Government. British 
officers in charge of districts Captain Eyre at 
Pagan, Mr. Robert Phayre at Minhla, Mr. Collins 
at Myingyan, Mr. Fleming at Shwebo were not 
subordinated to the control of the Hlutdaw. 
Mandalay also was removed from their control. At 
first Mr, Fforde,f as District Superintendent of 
Police, then Captain Adamson as Deputy Commis- 
sioner, with Mr. Fforde as his chief aid, were in 
charge. These officers received most valuable help 
from U Pe Si, who threw in his lot with the new 
Government, and served it loyally and well for the 

* U Pe Si, CLE,, one of the first Upper Burmans to receive 
a British decoration. 

t The late Mr. T. F. Fforde, of the Burma Commission, who 
died as Deputy Commissioner of Sagaing. 



124 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

rest of his life. U Pe Si was one of the most inter- 
esting characters of the annexation period. Of an 
established official family, his grandfather having 
been one of the signatories of the Treaty of Yandabo 
in 1826, he was a man of courage and resource, well 
fitted to be the colleague of British officers. His 
knowledge of Mandalay and the surrounding district 
was intimate and extensive. His mind was acute 
and his judgment sound. At sixty, so old and frail 
in appearance that he was once introduced to a 
high officer as " the Yenangyaung Mingy i over 
ninety years of age," that fragile frame was informed 
with dauntless will and resolution. He maintained 
the closest relations with a succession of Deputy 
Commissioners and Commissioners of Mandalay. 
His practice was to drop in to breakfast and con- 
sume vast quantities of jam, to the detriment of his 
poor digestion, as an aid to the delivery of wise 
discourse on men and things. Without him the task 
of governing Mandalay, difficult at the best, would 
have been still more arduous. 

Our early sway was of a patriarchal type. The 
theory that the penalty should be made to fit the 
offence was adopted by an ingenious magistrate who 
knew his Burman. An instance recurs to me worthy 
of Shahpesh, the Persian. Some gamblers were 
brought up for judgment. 

" So you like cards. Will you play a game with 
me ?" said the magistrate genially. " Please draw 
three cards." 

Two aces and a two were shown. 

" What a lucky man ! Take four stripes." 



EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 125 

The next man drew two kings and a five. 

" Your luck is not so good. Receive twenty-five 
stripes." 

And so on, to the delight of the public, and, we 
may hope, of the players. Another accused in the 
same case, hung about with cards and dice and 
other instruments of gaming, was paraded through 
the streets with his face to the tail of the pony on 
which he sat. 

XDolonel Sladen had the royal temperament, and 
was prepared to set right all the wrongs done by 
his predecessor. In pursuance of this policy he 
restored to the Yenangyaung Mingyi and the 
Pintha Mintha respectively all their property which 
had been confiscated by the King. As soon as these 
orders came to his notice, Mr. Bernard imperatively 
forbade any further similar restitutions, rightly 
holding it impossible to investigate the acts of the 
Burmese Government in exercise of its sovereign 
powers. The Yenangyaung Mingyi, then verging 
on ninety, was a valued Minister of King Mind6n, 
and had been wounded in the Myingun Prince's 
rebellion. On that occasion, as I heard from the 
lips of an eyewitness. King Mind6n was attacked 
by his disloyal son in a summer palace near Man- 
dalay Hill, and escaped borne on the back of a 
faithful attendant. The Mingyi had fallen into dis- 
grace with King Thebaw, doubtless because he was 
father of the Kyimyin Mipaya,* one of Minddn 
Min's lesser wives, who had borne the King a son, 
the Pyinmana Mintha. f In the massacre of 18 7" 9 
* Queen, t Mintha, prince. 



126 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

this child's life was spared, probably on account of 
his extreme youth ; but he and his mother and her 
family aU remained objects of suspicion, and were 
kept in confinement by the Burmese Government. 
Soon after our arrival the boy was discovered, and 
sent to India and educated at an English school. 
After 1905 he returned to Burma and settled in 
Rangoon, where he still lives on excellent terms 
with our ojBficers. Restored to favour and fortune, 
the Mingyi often came to see me, walking sturdily 
in spite of his years, and usually accompanied by 
two small sons of about eight or nine. The Pintha 
Mintha was the brother of Yanaung Maung T6k,* 
already mentioned as the roystering companion of 
King Thebaw, These two titular Princes were sons 
of another Yenangyaung Mingyi, of romantic his- 
tory. Sprung from humble stock, as a small boy he 
attracted the notice of a Princess. She adopted and 
educated him, and made him one of the royal pages. 
Conspicuous for grace and courtesy of manner, and, 
probably also for ability, he went on from rank to 
rank till he became successively Atwin Wun, and, 
on his death-bed, Mingyi. Though not of royal 
blood, his sons were given the title of Mintha, as it 
might be Prince Bismarck or Prince von Billow. 
Yanaung Maung T6k had the repute of being a 
blustering, truculent ruffian. If that was so, Pintha 
Maung Byaung alone inherited his father's gracious 
qualities. I knew him well. A pleasanter, more 
courteous, more polished gentleman could not be 
found. His wife, who, I regret to say, died last 
* See p. 30. 



EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 127 

year, was of a good official family, and a lady of 
exceptional charm. Their sons are doing well in 
Government service. Their daughters, delightful 
young girls in their early teens, glittering with 
diamonds and rubies, created a sensation at the 
celebration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. 
All three married well, but only one survives, the 
happy wife of a very distinguished Burmese officer. 

It was natural that for some time after the 
occupation there should be much confusion. But at 
the very outset means might have been taken for 
the preservation of the State Records ; instead of 
which, in the time-honoured phrase, soldiers were 
allowed to play havoc with these documents ; many 
of them were burnt, many more were torn and 
spoilt. The loss was irreparable. Immediately after 
the Chief Commissioner's arrival further destruction 
was stopped, and the surviving records were col- 
lected and deposited in the Council Chamber. 
Much of interest was thus preserved, but many 
State papers of priceless value, historically and 
administratively, were irretrievably lost. 

The Burmese of Mandalay did not in the least 
recognize that they had been conquered. They 
were as free and easy and unconcerned and bump- 
tious as if the King was still seated on the throne. 
The first task set me in Mandalay, the day after our 
arrival, was to find a Mohammedan doctor who was 
believed to have arrived lately from Bhamo. This 
was literally all the direction or clue given to aid 
me in a search among nearly 200,000 strange people. 
Not even the man's name was known. Colonel 



128 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Sladen kindly placed at my disposal a small Bur- 
mese ofl&cial, and as we rode out of the South Gate 
my companion was hailed by a friend and asked 
where he was going with the young barbarian (kala). 
My Burmese was fluent and vigorous. However, 
though I liked not the manners of his friend, my 
man was an intelligent, willing fellow, and before 
the winter sun had set we found and brought back 
the object of our mission. Later on, when much 
distress had been caused by fires, incendiary and 
accidental, the Burmans of Mandalay grew rather 
sulky. But nothing cured them of their insouciance. 
When fires were destroying their dwellings, they 
looked on quite calmly without offering to lend a 
hand, while British officers took extreme risks to 
save life and property in burning houses. 

■" There is a very valuable box in that house" (in 
a blaze). " Would you mind bringing it out for 
me ?" I heard a Burman say to a British officer, who 
complied with the cool request. 

At this time we were almost completely cut off" 
from Lower Burma and Rangoon. The telegraph 
line was interrupted, while letters came slowly by 
steamer once a week. Postal arrangements were 
necessarily of a primitive kind. The post-office was 
a flat, or barge, high and dry on the river-bank. 
When a steamer came from Rangoon, the mail-bags 
were opened and their contents cast on the deck of 
the flat. We who had hastened down on hearing of 
the steamer's approach were allowed, even invited, 
to search the pile and take what belonged to us. 
In spite of this apparently hazardous procedure-. 




Row OF BrniiHAS. 




Releasing a turtle ; a work of merit. 



EARLY DAYS AT MAN DAL AY 129 

I heard of no letters going astray. I quarrelled- 
quite seriously with a high officer of the post-office 
because I said in his hearing, incautiously and, 
I confess, unjustly, that I was sending letters to 
Rangoon by messenger rather than trust them to 
the post. For some months, if not years, we were 
unfriends ; but I am glad to say that, in the course 
of time, we were reconciled. 

I was soon taken from Secretariat work and sent 
as civil officer with a column. A detachment of 
Madras Cavalry without support had been sent to 
repair the telegraph line between Ava and Myingyan. 
They had met with resistance and been forced to re- 
turn. The task was then entrusted to an adequate 
force. Two guns, British infantry, Madras Cavalry, 
and Madras Pioneers were placed under the com- 
mand of Major Fen wick, I.S.C. Captain R. A. P. 
Clements * was stafiP officer ; Mr. H. d'U. Keary | 
and Mr. Rainey J were of our party. At Ava, where 
we halted before starting on our march, Maung 
Hlwa, the local Wun, came in and made his sub- 
mission, among the first-fruits of Burmese loyalty in 
that part of the country. Maung Hlwa, I am glad 
to say, stiU survives and draws his pension. He 
was an official of the good old Upper Burman type. 
Not over-educated, without very delicate scruples, 
of proved courage, with boundless personal influence 
(awza), wherever he was sent he was a loyal and 
useful servant of Government. No better man than 

* The late Major-General R. A. P. Clements, C.B., D.S.O. 
t Major-General H. d'U. Keary, C.B,, D.S.O. 
f Colonel R. M. Rainey-Robinson; C.B, 

9 



130 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

he to bring a troublesome township into order. He 
was one of the Burmese ofl&cers who went to the 
Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1903, where he was 
deeply impressed by the pomp and splendour of the 
occasion. On this march he was of the utmost 
service, though I am not quite sure that he did not 
take advantage of the opportunity to pay off some 
old scores. So quiet seemed the country and so 
little did we expect attack that I used to ride for 
miles along the river-bank and through the jungle 
at Ava with no other companion but Maung Hlwa. 
Yet within a month, at Sagaing on the opposite 
bank, four oiEcers were attacked within sight of the 
Government steamer Irrawaddy, and three of their 
number slain by dacoits who issued from ambush, 
cut down their victims, and disappeared before the 
rest of the party, walking not a couple of hundred 
yards behind, were aware of what had happened. 
The fall of Mandalay had been so sudden that it 
had not yet been realized in rural places, and the 
forces of opposition had not yet been organized. 
Very soon the turmoil began. It was then long 
before officers were able to travel without escort in 
Upper Burma. 

. This was one of the first daurs, or small expedi- 
tions, undertaken. Keeping close to the telegraph 
line which it was our primary duty to restore to 
working order, we marched through the midst of 
the Ava subdivision. In fine open country we rode 
daily over sessamum fields or through tall growths 
of millet, making our first acquaintance with the 
land where so much of our lives was to be spent. 



EAKLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 131 

The climate was cool and pleasant, so that we were 
able to march far into the morning. At the village 
where the cavalry had been routed we were so 
hospitably received that, to the best of my recollec- 
tion, no punishment for past misdeeds was inflicted. 
We were particularly touched to find here two 
Madrasi sayces,* cavalry followers who had been 
missing since the engagement, and who had, in fact, 
been wounded and disabled. They had been 
plastered and nursed by the villagers, and were 
restored to us none the worse for their adventure. 
Not much farther on we found a crucified man fall- 
ing to pieces after long exposure to sun and wind. 
I believe it was customary to kill the victim 
before affixing his body to a St. Andrew's cross. In 
early days, after a successful skirmish with dacoits, 
a Burman assistant approached the civil officer, 
saying as a matter of course: " I suppose it is time 
now to crucify the prisoners !" Incidents like these 
illustrate the charming inconsistency of the Burmese 
character already noted. 

Later on in our march we were resisted at two 
villages and had two little fights without, I think, 
any casualties on our side. After all the people had 
been cleared out, the first village was burnt for 
reasons of military necessity. Rightly enough, the 
burning of villages has always been discouraged, 
indeed, strictly forbidden, save as an extreme 
measure or for military reasons. But, when occasion 
arises, it is very interesting to put a match to a 
thatched roof and see it blaze to the sky. The 
* Horse-keepers. 



132 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

second village had to be shelled. Clements and I, 
who had ridden round to examine one of the farther 
approaches, found ourselves in the unpleasant posi- 
tion of being shelled by our own side. There I saw 
an instance of the stoical resolution with which 
Burmans meet death. A man torn to pieces by a 
shell asked only for an umbrella to shield him from 
the sun and a cheroot to femoke while he awaited 
the end. Both were supplied while our surgeon 
aiforded such relief as might be. Here is another 
inconsistency. By a shout and the explosion of a 
cracker, a band of dacoits* wiU put to flight all the 
men of a village, who stampede, leaving the women 
and children at the mercy of the assailants. Dacoits 
themselves go to work with trembling knees and 
hearts of water, ready to fly at the first sign of 
resistance. Yet men of the same race and class face 
a firing party with a smile or walk to the gallows 
with unfaltering step. Once, at a military execution, 
some half a dozen dacoits were put up, one by one, 
against the city wall to be shot. The first man had 
the top of his head blown off by the volley. His 
companions awaiting their turn burst into a laugh 
at his grotesque appearance. 

A day or two after Christmas we halted at Mjfotha 
in the middle of the Ava subdivision and there held 
the first gymkhana in the jungle of Upper Burma, 

* Technically, a dacoit is one of five or more persons banded 
together for purposes of robbery. It has been the custom to 
apply the term to all our opponents in Upper Burma, after the 
King's surrender. Even technically, the use was almost in- 
variably justified, ^ 



EAELY DAYS AT MANDALAY 133 

Pony races and other sporting events for officers and 
men and for local Burmans made up the programme. 
It was a characteristic episode. The people of 
Mjfotha were very friendly and joined with en- 
thusiasm in the proceedings. Here I confirmed in 
his office the M^othugyi.* I am told that he still 
holds the appointment. After leaving Mjfotha, we 
had our third and last encounter with dacoits. 
Captain Clements and Mr. Eainey took a few 
sowars "f to escort a telegraph working-party a few 
miles from our camp. So unexciting seemed the 
prospect that the rest of us stayed behind. Some 
of us walked unattended to a neighbouring village 
and sat for a long time talking with the headman 
and his people. The working-party and the escort 
were met by a hostile line of Burmans armed with 
muskets. Followed by the sowdrs, the officers 
charged and routed the enemy, but Clements fell 
with two holes in his chest. No wonder the 
surgeon looked grave. A bullet in each lung, God 
shield us, is a most dreadful thing. However, a 
fortnight afterwards I found Clements quite active 
at mess at Tha-yet-m^o. I infer that his pony 
swerved at the volley and that the two holes were 
made by the same bullet. In Burma Clements got 
another wound and two brevets. He served with 
great distinction in South Africa, and after passing 
through many campaigns was cut off by appendi- 
citis at Quetta in the midst of a brilliant career. 
A fine officer, a perfect horseman, with a frame 

* Circle headman, much like a Taik-Thugyi in Lower Burma. 
t Cavalrymen. 



134 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

of iron, even in youth he gave promise of future 
eminence. 

Another unfortunate incident was an outbreak of 
cholera in our camp, which brought us to a halt for 
some days and cost valuable lives. A stalwart 
young sergeant of gunners was specially regretted. 
A halt on account of cholera is one of the most 
gloomy and depressing experiences, particularly for 
the men. It was with somewhat chastened feelings 
that we marched into Myingyan. Our one consola- 
tion was that we had accomplished our purpose and 
reopened telegraphic communication with Rangoon. 

Meanwhile the Kinwun Mingyi, who had gone 
with the ex-King, had returned to Mandalay, and 
the Taingda Mingyi, the evil genius of the dynasty, 
had been sent to Hazaribagh. Mr. Bernard was 
convinced of the Taingda Mingyi's active disloyalty. 
It was notorious that, in the King's time, he 
fomented disorder and shared the spoils of dacoity. 
There were reasonable grounds for believing that he 
continued these practices and that his power was 
exerted against the Government. To retain this 
man in a leading position on Colonel Sladen's Council, 
or even to allow him to stay in Burma, deprived of 
ofl&ce, in a private station, was fraught with grave 
risk. In Mandalay his influence was supreme. His 
speedy removal without previous warning seemed 
clearly desirable. This was dramatically effected. 
As the Mingyi sat in the midst of the Hlutdaw, 
Mr. Pilcher entered and summoned him to the 
Chief Commissioner's presence. Arriving there, he 
was told that he was to be sent to India. His 



EARLY DAYS AT MANDALAY 135 

request for permission to go to his house before 
leaving was refused. Seated with Mr. Pilcher in a 
bullock-carriage, he was driven to the shore. As he 
passed out of the West, the Traitors', Gate, there 
was a block, and the carriage halted. " Is this where 
you are going to kill me ?" asked the old man. 
Under the provisions of the beneficent Regula- 
tion III. of 1818, the Mingy i was detained for 
several years. Long after the country had been at 
peace, he was allowed to return and end his days in 
Burma in receipt of an allowance from Government. 
He was a man of much force of character, com- 
paratively uneducated, and, unless his face and 
common fame belied him, of harsh and cruel nature. 
That protruding under-lip and that glance, stern 
even in old age, were signs of a fiery and turbulent 
soul. After his return he did no harm, and, having 
lost his wealth in foolish speculations, he died a poor 
man. I helped to get a small pension for his widow, 
an innocent old lady, who was, I believe, sincerely 
grateful. The pension was granted as an act of 
grace, not out of respect for the Mingyi's memory. 

About this time I went on one more little daur, 
perhaps hardly worth mentioning. Dacoits were 
entrenched in the Kaung-hmu-daw Pagoda, not very 
far from Sagaing. A column, with Colonel Lowndes 
as civil officer, was sent against them. Another 
column, which I accompanied, started at the same 
time and went up the river. We were to hold a 
defile in the hills and cut off the retreat of the 
dacoits dislodged from Kaung-hmu-daw. The arrival 
of the main body at Sagaing was marked by 



136 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

the lamentable incident already narrated.* Next 
morning, as arranged, the pagoda was attacked and 
the defenders driven out. The rest of the plan mis- 
carried. Our intelligence was grievously at fault. 
The only pass in the hills, we found, ran from east to 
west. Through it we marched at the mercy of any 
hostile force which might be crowning the heights. 
Emerging scathless from this gorge, as no one took 
advantage of so fair a chance, we reached a wide 
champaign over which an army corps might have 
scattered without coming near us. That Sunday 
morning we had a pleasant picnic on a breezy down, 
and towards nightfall we marched back, having seen 
no one worse than ourselves. 

* P. ]30. 



CHAPTER IX 

LORD DUFFERIN'S VISIT : MANDALAY ONCE MORE 

Early in 1886 Mr. Bernard returned to Rangoon. 
As I was not in Lower Burma for any length of 
time from December, 1885, to March, 1887, it does 
not fall within the scope of this book to attempt a 
description of events in that part of the Province in 
the months following the occupation of Mandalay. 
It was a time of stress and anxiety. Insurrections, 
excited no doubt by emissaries from the Burmese 
Court and headed in more than one case by monks, 
broke out all over the country. For a time Lower 
Burma was a seething mass of disorder. With 
inadequate military and police forces. Commissioners 
and district officers bravely faced the situation, and 
by strenuous effiarts suppressed rebellion and gradu- 
ally restored peace. In the early months, in the 
Chief Commissioner's absence from Rangoon, the 
general direction of operations was in the hands of 
Mr. Symes, then an officer of ten years' service. 
With what nerve, resolution, and judgment he dis- 
charged this great responsibility only those who 
served in Lower Burma at that time can properly 
appreciate. No one could have done better and 

137 



138 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUKMA 

more valuable work in a very serious crisis. Those 
early months showed Mr. Symes to be an ad- 
ministrator of the highest class, and won for him the 
reputation which he enjoyed to the day of his 
lamented death. 

At the beginning of 1886 Lord Dufferin came to 
study on the spot the problem of Upper Burma and 
practically to decide its destiny. At the same time 
came Sir Frederick Roberts, then Commander-in- 
Chief in India. With the Viceroy were Mr. Durand, * 
Foreign Secretary ; Mr. Mackenzie, "j" Home Secre- 
tary ; Mr. Mackenzie Wallace, J Private Secretary ; 
and Lord William Beresford, Military Secretary, a 
galaxy of talent. Lord Clandeboye, afterwards Earl 
of Ava, in the flower of his youth and beauty, was 
among the aides-de-camp. Sir Frederick Roberts's 
staff was hardly less brilliant. It included Major 
W. G. Nicholson, § Major Ian Hamilton, || Captain 
Neville Chamberlain,^ and Colonel Pole-Carew.** 
Besides being the best-known man of his time in 

* The Right Hon. Sir Mortimer Durand, P.C, G.C.M.G., 
K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E., successively Minister at Teheran and Ambas- 
sador at Madrid and Washington. 

t The late Sir Alexander Mackenzie, K.C.S.I., Chief Com- 
missioner of Burma, Member of Council, and Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal. 

t Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, K.C.I.E., K.C.V.O., best 
known, perhaps, as the author of the standard work on Russia. 

§ Field-Marshal Lord Nicholson, G.C.B., R.E. 

II General Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., D.S.O. 

H Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., In- 
spector-General Royal Irish Constabulary. 

** Lieutenant - General Sir Reginald Pole-Carew, K.C.B., 
C.V.O., M.P. 



LORD DUFFERIN'S VISIT 139 

India, Beresford was probably the best Military 
Secretary in history. He was thoroughly con- 
versant with every detail of his office. Equally at 
home in the direction of a Durbar or the manage- 
ment of a social gathering, with singular charm of 
manner, he had the delightful gift of being all things 
to all men. At a garden party he might be seen in 
close converse with a pillar of the Church, or hang- 
ing on the lips of an American Missionary, as if this 
idyllic communion was the one thing for which he 
lived. After this visit, the Bishop of Rangoon con- 
fided his opinion to a friend : " I am glad to see that 
the tone of the Viceregal Court is so good. Do 
you know ? I think this high standard is in a great 
measure due to the influence of Beresford." In 
Rangoon the usual festivities were held. At a ball 
I was deputed to interpret between His Excellency 
and Burmese ladies and gentlemen. Lord Duiferin's 
embroidered compliments, addressed to some fair 
ladies, severely taxed my homespun vernacular. 

After a short stay in Rangoon Lord Dufferin and 
Sir Frederick Roberts went up to Mandalay in the 
steamer Mindoon, fitted out and placed at the Vice- 
roy's disposal by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. 
Stopping at various places on the way, the Viceroy 
made the acquaintance of the local military and 
civil officers. The visit to Mandalay was an un- 
qualified success. Their Excellencies, for Lady 
Dufierin lent her gracious presence to the occasion, 
were welcomed by the military and civil officers 
and all the Burmese notables. They were installed 
in the finest rooms in the Palace, visited all scenes 



140 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

of interest in the town and city, and received the 
members of the royal house and the most eminent 
Burmese officers and their families. On the eastern 
terrace of the Palace the Viceroy held a levde, the 
first and only instance of that ceremony being held 
in the Nandaw.* Just before his departure, in a 
mandatf erected on the shore, he addressed a meet- 
ing of Burmese Ministers and high officials. His 
speech was interpreted by an Extra Assistant 
Commissioner, Maung Pyi. Failing to catch one 
sentence, the interpreter vainly tried to induce his 
Excellency to repeat it. Nothing daunted, Maung 
Pyi, with perfect assurance, evolved and uttered an 
elaborate sentence of his own. The incident passed 
unnoticed. Lord Dufferin's name will always be 
associated with Upper Burma. From Ava he' took 
one of his titles, and he acceded to the request that 
the cantonment of Mandalay, embracing the city 
as weU as an area without the walls, should bear his 
name. 

On the voyage and after his arrival in Mandalay 
the Viceroy and his advisers conferred with Mr. 
Bernard concerning the future of the newly acquired 
dominion. With the sanction of the Secretary of 
State, his Excellency, at a dinner given on the eve 
of his departure, announced the decision that the 
country was to be administered as part of British 
India, It was on this occasion, and by Mr. Bernard, 
that the familiar term "annexation" was first pub- 
licly used. Then, having accomplished the purpose 
of his visit, the Viceroy re-embarked for Prome. 

* Palace. t Temporary pavilion. 



LORD DUFFERIN'S VISIT 141 

Just opposite Pagan, whereat the state of the dis- 
trict did not invite a landing, the Mindoon stuck 
fast on a sandbank for nearly twelve hours, a really 
characteristic incident on the Irrawaddy. Lord 
Dufferin was not in the least disconcerted or an- 
noyed ; he professed to be pleased to have one day's 
entire rest. Towards evening the whole party were 
on the point of being transferred to some small craft 
in attendance, but luckily the steamer floated off 
in time, and this inconvenience was avoided. The 
return to Rangoon was saddened by the tidings of 
the death of Mr. H. L. St. Barbe, one of the most 
rising men in the Province, whose very remarkable 
personality gave every promise of distinction.* He 
was killed in the Bassein District, one of the first 
victims of the dacoit bands which harassed Lower 
Burma for three or four years. 

By their charm and courtesy Lord and Lady 
Dufferin won all hearts, and left the happiest im- 
pression on the people of the Province. StiU a 
junior ofl&cer, naturally I was not brought into close 
or frequent contact with them ; but on the voyage 
to and from Mandalay I was near enough to come 
under the spell. Lord Dufferin was no doubt an 
admirable Viceroy. His dignity and presence, as 
well as his brilliant gifts, were specially fitted to 
adorn that illustrious ojffice. He did not condescend 
to detail or profess to be industrious in small things. 
Industry, it has been said, is the tribute which 
mediocrity pays to genius. Often, I have heard, it 

* Mr. St. Barbe had a marked turn for letters. Some of his 
papers may be found in the Cornhill Magazine of the seventies. 



142 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

was difficult to induce him to attend to matters of 
routine. But a really important case inspired him 
with enthusiasm, and on it he shed the rays of an 
illuminating mind ; to its polished completion he 
devoted infinite pains. His visit in the early years 
of his Viceroyalty was greatly to the benefit of the 
Province. During the rest of his life in India his 
warm and friendly interest in Burma never failed. 

The annexation of Upper Burma has been 
criticized not only by those who regard with dis- 
approval every extension of the Empire. A very 
distinguished officer, whose best years had been 
passed in Burma, and who was familiar with both 
parts of the Province, suggested to me as one grave 
objection that the annexation extinguished a nation- 
ality, a thing which had not before been done in 
India. I have no doubt that, especially from the 
point of view of the good of the Burmese race, the 
annexation was an unmixed advantage. So far from 
extinguishing a nationality, we reintegrated it. Up 
to 1885 Burma was in a state of disunion. Part 
flourished under British rule ; part languished under 
native tyranny. Some Burmans were British sub- 
jects ; some served their own King. The conquest 
of Upper Burma reunited the severed fragments. 
Once more Burma became a solid country, the 
Burmese a nation under one undivided control ; 
and as such it began a career of almost unexampled 
prosperity. Although there are differences and dis- 
tinctions between the two sections, due to the varied 
course of their past history, Burma now forms one 
Province, and every part shares in the fortunes of 



LORD DUFFERIN'S VISIT 143 

the whole. The annexation did far more than this. 
It restored peace and order to a distracted people, 
and secured to every man the free enjoyment of the 
fruits of his labours. To all men were given the 
protection of equal laws and the assurance of even- 
handed justice. The grasping avarice of ofl&cials was 
restrained, and corrupt practices were discounte- 
nanced. Burmans are not excluded fi'om a due share 
in the administration. To aspiring youths, promising 
careers have been thrown open. The second Burman 
as yet enlisted in the higher branch of the Accounts 
Department is an Upper Burman, the first to take 
the degree of Bachelor of Arts. On those Burmans 
who loyally accepted the new Government, office and 
honours were freely bestowed. The Kinwun Mingyi 
became a Companion of the Star of India, U Pe Si 
of the Indian Empire. The real patriots were those 
who recognized that the new order meant peace and 
prosperity, with no suppression of native religion or 
customs, and who risked obloquy, and often life and 
property, in loyal service to the State. These were 
truer friends of their people than men who, by 
ineffectual revolt and resistance, plunged their 
country for years into bloodshed and misery. 

In March, 1886, Sir Charles Bernard returned to 
Mandalay. On April 1 the provisional administra- 
tion of the Hlutdaw came to an end^ Sir Edward 
Sladen retired, and the Chief Commissioner assumed 
direct control of Upper Burma. At the same time 
the Burma Field Force was broken up. Sir Harry 
Prendergast returned to India, and Sir George 
White took command of the troops. While retaining 



144 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

general control of the whole Province, Sir Charles 
Bernard left Lower Burma under the immediate 
direction of Mr. G. J. S. Hodgkinson* as Special 
Commissioner, devoting his own energies mainly to 
the settlement of the new Province and the model- 
ling of its administration. An entirely separate 
Secretariat was formed, of which, as Secretary for 
Upper Burma, I was in sole charge. My office was 
in the Hlutdaw building, within the Palace en- 
closure. We had our own little printing-press, 
modestly but efficiently equipped by Mr. Regan, 
and we published our own Gazette. My only quali- 
fied assistant was Mr. Taw Sein Ko,f then in his 
early youth, to whom I am indebted for invaluable 
assistance during those busy months as well as in 
later years. Of the clerical stafi^, the less said the 
better. It was, perhaps, a unique Secretariat, with 
no records of previous years and no precedents. 
Whatever the Secretary might forget, the Chief 
Commissioner remembered. Besides myself, the only 
member of Sir Charles Bernard's immediate staff 
was the Personal Assistant. This office was filled 
first by Andrew Thomson, C.S., a man of brilliant 
ability and exceptional gifts. Later came Sir Charles 
Bernard's elder son, J. H. Bernard, C.S., endowed 
with many of the qualities of his family. Andrew 

* The late Mr. G. J. S. Hodgkinson, C.S.I., afterwards the 
first Judicial Commissioner of Upper Burma. 

■j- Now Mr. Taw Sein Ko, I.S.O., recipient of the Kaiser-i-Hind 
medal. Superintendent of the Burma Archaeological Survey. I 
gratefully acknowledge much valuable help from him in the 
preparation of this book. 



MANDALAY ONCE MORE 145 

Thomson died in the flower of his youth, multis bonis 
fiehilis. James Bernard died in Bengal, in tragic 
circumstances, midway in a career of promise. Never 
were two pleasanter or more helpful comrades. 

Though the Hlutdaw was dissolved, seven or eight 
of the principal Ministers were retained on moderate 
salaries as a consultative body. They had their own 
office in the Hlutdaw building, with a few clerks, 
and were in charge of the old State records. The 
handwriting of these clerks was most elaborate and 
beautiful. Such writing is now, I fear, a lost art. 
In the King's time Court writers were kept up to 
the mark by fear of heavy penalties. For wrongly 
dividing a word at the end of a line (like thi- 
s) the punishment was amputation of the right hand. 
It seems almost excessive. The Sayedawgyi were 
of a higher class than ordinary clerks in Government 
offices. Some of them were related to Ministers, or 
even to members of the royal family. And often 
enough they blossomed into Wuns or Ministers. 
Among them were men of ability and character. I 
instance my friend Maung Tin, A.T.M., Extra 
Assistant Commissioner, long resident at Pagan as 
township officer, now subdivisional officer, a recog- 
nized authority on the antiquities of that historic 
city. Another, also Maung Tin, A.T.M., Extra 
Assistant Commissioner and subdivisional officer, 
has written a learned history of Burma. Both are 
men of good family and have attained responsible 
positions under our Government. The Ministers 
had no powers, but were often consulted on matters 
of which they had special knowledge or means of 

10 



146 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

information. Punctually at noon every day, a 
chaprdsi * came into my office and announced the 
Minister's approach. | At the ensuing conference 
public affairs were discussed and the opinions of 
Ministers invited. If the stock of references was 
low, the conversation turned to Burmese history and 
family affairs, of which their knowledge was exten- 
sive and accurate. One day we were aU bidden to 
the wedding of the late Shwepyi Mingyi's daughter. 
A peculiar custom prevailed among the wealthier 
classes of having marriages celebrated by P6nnas, 
Hindu descendants of captives from Assam or 
Manipiir. It has already been explained that Bud- 
dhism, as understood in Burma, provides no ceremony 
of marriage. The custom of inviting Ponnas to 
celebrate marriages of Buddhists with some sort of 
Hindu rite, the binding with a thread and the 
eating out of the same dish, is a curious anomaly for 
which I can find no parallel. This was a wedding 
of the P6nna type. All Mandalay attended, in- 
cluding many European officers. To complete the 
quaint mixture of foreign ceremonies, the health of 
bride and bridegroom was drunk in champagne by 
those of the company who allowed themselves that 
indulgence. Late in the morning, as I was about 
to leave, one of the Ministers said with a sigh : 
" Well, I suppose we must be getting away to office 
too." The suggestion that such a festal day might 
be spent as a holiday was accepted with effusion. 
There was something pathetic in the thought of 

* Messenger. 

t Raja log ate hain. 



MANDALAY ONCE MOEE 147 

these men, all of mature and some of advanced years, 
who had exercised almost absolute sway over a 
kingdom, regarding themselves as under the orders 
of an officer so much their junior in age. I did my 
best to make the position as little irksome as might 
be. As I retained the friendship of every one of 
them as long as he lived, I hope my effijrts had some 
measure of success. 

With the Kinwun Mingyi I contracted a close and 
intimate friendship, which ended only with his death 
at an advanced age. In early days Andrew Thom- 
son and I were often at his house, playing with his 
charming grandchildren, small boys and girls of four 
or five years of age ; sometimes on Sunday mornings 
we went to his garden beyond the walls for an early 
picnic. The Mingyi was a man of amiable disposi- 
tion and courtly manners, of great learning, a 
delightful companion. To have had the privilege 
of discussing with him the doctrine of Neikban 
(Nirvana) is a pleasant memory. Although he could 
have no real love for our Government, he loyally 
accepted it, and did his best to support and 
strengthen the new order. I believe him to have 
been a man of high character, incapable of any base 
or treacherous act. His personal record was un- 
impeachable ; he lived and died in honourable 
disregard of wealth. He had no children except 
two sons by adoption. 

Another house where I was always welcome was 
that of the widow of the Pagan Min. She was his 
principal Queen, and occupied the house where the 
deposed King and herself had lived since the acces- 



148 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

sion of Minddn Min.* It was interesting to meet in 
such conditions one who had sat on the throne and 
was sprung from the race of Burma's Kings. She 
was a charming lady, advanced in years, with the 
fine manners of her rank and people. In the house 
of the Pintha Mintha t I was also received on cordial 
terms. My friendship with his family subsists to 
this day. 

The description already given J of the position of 
women in Burma may help to render intelligible the 
sketch of our life in Mandalay in early days. For 
some months European ladies were not encouraged 
to come to Mandalay. Most of us were extremely 
busy, and lived an austere life in the Palace. For 
companionship we were dependent on one another 
and on our Burmese friends. The people of whom 
I saw most in rare intervals of relaxation were 
officials and their families and members of the royal 
house. Queens and Princesses were many. For a 
melancholy reason Princes were few. Except the 
Myingun Prince in Pondioherry, and the Nyaung- 
yan and Nyaung-6k Princes in Calcutta, only two 
of Mindon Min's sons survived — the Kawlin and 
Pyinmana§ Princes. || Educated in India, these two 
have now for some years lived in charming domes- 
ticity in Rangoon ; each happily married to a lady of 
his House. Both are honorary magistrates, and duly 
take their turn as members of a Bench for the trial 

* Seep. 27. t Seep. 126. 

I See p. 67 et seq. § Already mentioned, p. 125. 

II There is one more who has lived in obscurity in Rangoon 
for many years. 



MANDALAY ONCE MORE 149 

of petty cases. There were a few other Minthas, 
sons of the Einshemin* and other Princes, besides 
more distant relations of the King. Several of the 
Minthas have taken service under Government, and 
occupy responsible positions as Assistant Commis- 
sioners, Mj^o-dks, and in other departments. Almost 
all the ladies of the Royal House, widows and 
daughters of Mind&n Min, or otherwise nearly re- 
lated to the King, were in great distress and 
poverty. For the most part they had subsisted on 
meagre allowances, many of them being kept in 
confinement or under restraint. All these ladies 
received pensions from the British Government, but 
on so minute a scale that Sir Charles Bernard's 
proposals for their maintenance excited by their 
moderation the surprise even of the Government of 
India. Yet when income-tax was, as some think 
illegally, levied in Upper Burma on incomes derived 
from Government, I am ashamed to say that these 
paltry stipends were subjected to deduction. From 
time to time the scale of pensions was raised, but it 
was not till many years later that I had the good 
fortune to enlist Lord Minto's active sympathy with 
these ladies, and to secure for them allowances not 
utterly inadequate. Most prominent of the royal 
ladies in Mandalay were two full sisters of King 
Thebaw, the Pakangyi and Meiktila Supaya.f 
Meiktila Supaya married a commoner, and died some 

* See p. 122. 

t Supaya means a Princess of royal parentage on both sides. 
Except the King's sister, there was in Mandalay only one real 
holder of the title, the Pyinzi Supaya. 



150 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BUEMA 

years ago, leaving two charming daughters, of whom 
one is the wife of a Government officer. The Amd- 
daw-gyi* brought up her nieces, and lived quietly 
in Mandalay till recent days. Only one of Mindon 
Min's wives of royal stock survived tUl our time. 
Wives of inferior rank were not of royal blood, but 
for the most part daughters of officials or chiefs. 
The three whom I knew best were three sisters, the 
Limban, Thetpan, and Thayazein Queens, daughters 
of a Talaing M^o-thugyi in Lower Burma. They 
were ladies of dignity and refinement, with whom 
my family and I were long on terms of intimacy. 
Only the Thayazein Queen survives, living happily 
with her daughters and grandchildren in E-angoon. 
The pension list included over one hundred persons. 
At first the Princesses shrank from marrying com- 
moners, but clearly most of them must condescend 
or remain unwed. Many of them, therefore, in the 
course of time took husbands of inferior rank. In 
the quarter of a century which has passed since the 
annexation, not one of the ladies of the Burmese 
royal family has given the slightest trouble to 
Government from a political point of view ; none 
of them has intrigued or shared in any conspiracy 
or seditious movement. When the prominent part 
taken by Burmese women in public and private 
affairs is remembered, it will be admitted that, if 
for this reason alone, these ladies merit gentle 
treatment at our hands. I think they might at 
least be excused from paying income-tax on their 
pensions. 

* Elder royal Bister. 



MANDALAY ONCE MOEE 151 

It may be appropriate here to notice the theory 
and practice of class distinctions in Burma. The 
King and the royal family were placed on a lone 
and lofty pedestal, and regarded with exaggerated 
reverence. In respect of royalty there was almost, 
not quite, a distinction of caste. An instance of 
respect for the sacredness of the blood royal came 
under my own notice. A granddaughter of Mind6n 
Min, daughter of his son by a minor Queen, a 
charming and attractive girl, eloped with the 
Queen's nephew, a very presentable youth. The 
boy was one of the Queen's household, son of the 
Queen's own brother, a commoner. The Mipaya's* 
distress and indignation were extreme. To console 
her, I suggested that, after all, the lover was of her 
own family. " I would as soon she had married a 
coolie out of the street," was the uncompromising 
reply. The old lady had no rest tiU she had worried 
these young people to divorce, and married the girl 
to a Princeling. Anomalies were necessarily recog- 
nized. Though the King took as his chief Queen 
one of his half-sisters, Kings and Princes might 
marry commoners ; royal ladies might not do so. 
Of late, as we have seen, this rule has become less 
strict. But genuine respect for the royal family 
still abounds. To this day, whether in Upper or 
Lower Burma, any upstart who pretends to royal 
origin secures a following, f The very sensible plan 
of employing them as M;fo-6ks and Extra Assistant 
Commissioners has done much to keep real sons of 
Princes out of mischief. 

* Queen. t See p. 270. 



152 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Apart from the royal family and monks, the only 
distinct class among Burmans is that of officials. 
There is no landed gentry ; there are no county 
families. In most cases, especially in the higher 
grades, official rank was not hereditary. The 
Mingyi's son did not become a Mingyi, or the 
Wun's son a Wun, by succession. Occasionally one 
came across officers, like my friend U Pe Si,* 
sprung from official families. This was the result 
of nepotism, not heredity. As a rule an official 
obtained his position by luck or by favour or by 
family influence, by repute for learning, or by dis- 
tinction as a soldier or administrator. The royal 
family and officials excluded, the rest of the people 
were on the same social plane. False pride and 
snobbishness were unknown. One of the Ministers, 
of eminent learning, who came clad in silks and 
gUttering with golden chains, brought his brother 
to see me. The brother was an old peasant out of 
the fields, who sa,t on the floor, wearing the scanty 
dress of the working farmer. We had a pleasant 
talk about crops and seasons, while the Minister sat 
on a chair and discussed what Prince Hassan f used 
to call " country business." It is, perhaps, to this 
absence of false pride, to genuine kindness of heart, 
and to traditional respect for elders, that the fine 
manners of Burmans are due. Good manners and 
self-respect are marks of all ranks. I have received 
perfect civility and courtesy from Princes and 
Ministers, from peasants and labouring men ; always 
a kind word and a smile and thought for a guest's 
* See pp. 123-4. t See p. 210 et seq. 



MANDALAY ONCE MOKE 153 

comfort and convenience. Even contact with 
Western civilization has not yet spoilt the grace of 
manner which adorns the Burmese race. 

The lack of class distinctions imports a certain 
want of cohesion, which does not facilitate the task 
of administration. Burmans are rank individualists, 
and so, I suppose, far behind the times. Each 
family is a separate entity, bound by no ties to any 
overlord. It is true that the hereditary principle is 
strong in the case of minor ofl&ces, such as those of 
Mj^o-thugyi* or Ywa-thugyi."}" These comparatively 
small but important offices passed from father to 
son for generations. In Lower Burma we have 
practically abolished the circle, and in Upper Burma 
the M^o is likewise in process of decay. I for one 
agree that the village is the better unit. Yet some 
tribute of respect must be paid to the old M^o-thugyi, 
a courtly country gentleman of dignity and presence, 
possibly more ornamental than useful. 

* Headman of a town or circle, much like a Taik-Thugyi in 
Lower Burma. 

t Village headman. 



CHAPTER X 

THE FIRST YEAR AFTER THE ANNEXATION 

The task of constituting the new Administration 
and of reducing the country to order was rendered 
especially difficult by the rigid economy at first 
contemplated by the Government of India, In the 
discussions during the Viceroy's visit it is under- 
stood that frugality was declared essential. With 
the loyalty which in him, as in Sir Arthur Phayre, 
rose almost to a passion, Sir Charles Bernard did 
his utmost to carry out the wishes of Government. 
Beyond doubt or dispute, a burden far greater than 
any man should be asked to bear was placed upon 
the Chief Commissioner's shoulders. Yet the Titan 
never showed signs of weariness. There were to be 
no Divisional Commissioners ; district officers were 
to work under the Chief Commissioner's orders. 
The provision for police, especially military police, 
was quite inadequate. The Secretariat staff was 
plainly insufficient. No one but Sir Charles Bernard, 
with his immense power of work, his loyal enthusiasm, 
his marvellous memory and mastery of detail, could 
have attempted the task. And the effort was be- 
yond even those exceptional powers. In the first 

154 



FIEST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 155 

year of the occupation Sir Charles Bernard, for 
some time single-handed, organized and directed the 
administration of the new Province, doing the work 
of three ordinary men, dealing as far as possible 
immediately in police matters with the Inspector- 
General, in forest matters with the Conservator, 
keeping close touch and on the most friendly terms 
with the military authorities, keeping also in per- 
sonal contact with every district ofl&cer, guiding, 
encouraging, seldom admonishing. Throughout this 
year of labour and anxiety he was hardly a week 
free from severe and painful illness. Almost from 
the beginning he was the target of malicious and 
venomous attack. With an inadequate though loyal 
and efficient staff in the districts ; with scanty funds 
doled out by the Imperial Government, which then, 
as ever, treated Burma with unsympathetic parsi- 
mony ; under the depressing effects of illness, the 
object of ignorant and unscrupulous detraction, the 
work done by Sir Charles Bernard in that first year, 
when order began to be evolved out of chaos, has 
never been properly appreciated in public. But no 
civil officer who served in Upper Burma in that 
year fails to recognize the heroic work done by his 
Chief, or to remember the support and encourage- 
ment received from him in times of trouble, doubt, 
and confusion. No military officer of standing forgets 
the loyal co-operation of the civil power as repre- 
sented by the Chief Commissioner. Sir Charles 
Bernard could not remain in Burma to complete his 
work. He laid a sound basis for the restoration of 
order and the building up of the fabric of settled 



156 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

government. The report of the year's work issued 
at the end of 1886 was a record of which no 
Administration need have been ashamed. 

As might have been foreseen from the first, it 
was soon found impossible for the Chief Commis- 
sioner directly to control the affairs of every District. 
Upper Burma was therefore partitioned into Divi- 
sions, and Commissioners were appointed, In June, 
Mr. H. St. G. Tucker, C.S., became Commissioner of 
the Eastern Division, with headquarters at Ningyan 
(Pyinmana). This division was more remote from 
Mandalay than any part of the Province as yet 
sought to be administered ; there was no communi- 
cation with it by water, and neither road nor rail 
was yet in being. In August and September three 
other divisions were constituted. Mr. G. D. Burgess, 
C.S., became Commissioner of the Northern Division ; 
Mr. F. W. R. Fryer,* C.S., with a great reputation 
from the Punjab, assumed charge of the Central 
Division, both for a time residing at Mandalay ; 
Mr. J. J. Digges La Touche.f C.S., from the North- 
West Provinces, was posted to the Southern Division, 
with headquarters at Minbu. With some adjust- 
ment of local limits, these Divisions still subsist. 
Their names have been changed, not, I think, for 
the better, and in most cases the headquarters 
have been shifted. The appointment of these officers 
afforded the Chief Commissioner appreciable relief. 

* Sir Frederic Fryer, K.C.S.I., Chief Commissioner and first 
Lieutenant-Governor of Burma. 

t Sir James Digges la Touche, K.C.S.I., Lieutenant-Governor 
of the United Provinces and a Member of the Council of India. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 157 

Having taken over an area twice as large as 
Lower Burma, Sir Charles Bernard was confronted 
with the task of finding officers to administer it. 
Obviously the existing staff could not be stretched 
to cover the new Province and provide equipment 
for the old Province as well. For the Commission 
civilians were sent from other provinces, military 
civilians were recruited, and appointments were 
offered to men in various departments or not yet 
in Government service. In each of these alterna- 
tives there were advantages and disadvantages. 
Civilians from other provinces, though versed in the 
art of administration, were ignorant of the language 
and customs of Burma. Military civilians, excellent 
material, needed some training in civil work. 
Officers of other departments and non-officials re- 
cruited in the Province knew the language and the 
people, but had no acquaintance with administrative 
methods. The last-mentioned defect is probably 
regarded by many as imaginary. While for other 
arts and professions a laborious education is neces- 
sary, we all know that government and administra- 
tion are gifts of the gods and come by nature. We 
are all familiar with brilliant amateurs in adminis- 
tration, who know their work far better than those 
trained to the business from their youth. The 
Commission was thus a composite body, probably 
not so supremely excellent as that which undertook 
the settlement of the Punjab under John and Henry 
Lawrence, but fuU of ability and zeal. The Civil 
Service, the Army, and what were then called the 
Uncovenanted Services, furnished officers of con- 



158 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

spicuous merit, who in the years immediately 
succeeding the annexation and in later times did 
invaluable work. Without making invidious dis- 
tinctions or offering presumptuous criticisms, I may 
mention of the early new-comers Mr. H. P. Todd- 
Naylor,* Mr. J. George Scott.f Mr. H. A. Browning, J 
Mr. B. S. Carey,§ and Mr. H. M. S. Matthews.|| 

The officering of the civil police was one of even 
greater difficulty, the pay and prospects being far 
less attractive. Some officers were drafted from 
other Provinces. Many adventurous young gentle- 
men flocked to Mandalay, eager to take part in 
the settlement of a new Province. Of these some 
were appointed to be inspectors, some to be even 
head constables, with a prospect of obtaining 
gazetted rank in the course of time. Most of them 
did excellent work, fully justifying their selection. 
From time to time some were transferred to the 
Commission. The majority had a hard and dis- 
appointing life, waiting long for the realization of 
their dreams. The story of the Burma Civil Police 
is one of hope deferred, and of weary plodding 
through many dismal years. It is greatly to the 
credit of its officers that they did well under such 
depressing conditions. 

In the first year, at least, the bulk of the actual 

* The late Mr. H. P. Todd-Naylor, C.S.I., C.I.E., Commissioner 
and acting Financial Commissioner. 

t Sir J. George Scott, K.C.I.E. 

t Colonel H. A. Browning, afterwards Chief Commissioner of 
the Andaman Islands. 

§ Mr. B. S. Carey, C.I.E., Commissioner. 

II Mr, H. M. S. Matthews, C.S.I., Settlement Commissioner. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 159 

work of pacification was done by the army of occupa- 
tion. Sir George White was in command, brave 
among the brave, cheeriest of companions, loyalest 
of friends, the warrior whom every man in arms 
should wish to be. Chief of his Staff was Colonel 
Prothero,* who worked all day and night without 
turning a hair, whose gay serenity nothing could 
ruffle, whose motto might have been : 

" Still to be neat, still to be dressed 
As always going to a feast." 

In the course of the summer. Sir Herbert Mac- 
pherson, V.C.,f came over to exercise general control. 
After his lamented death, the Commander-in-Chief 
in India himself, Sir Frederick Roberts, spent some 
months in Burma, occupying the summer-house in 
the Palace garden where the King surrendered, 
giving to civil and military administration the sup- 
port of his authority, the strength of his wise counsel. 
Gradually, as the area of settled government 
extended, the country was covered with a network 
of small military posts, more than a hundred being 
in existence at the end of the year. 

In these months came the first two military police 
battalions, raised by Mr. Loch and Mr. GastrelLJ 
The Mandalay battalion, which I knew best, attracted 
the flower of the Punjab. Under Mr. Gastrell's 
excellent command it became a thoroughly efficient 
force, conspicuous among the large body of military 

* The late Major-General M. Prothero, C.B.,C.S. I., afterwards 
commanding the Burma Division. 

f Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army. 



160 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

police which garrisoned the country in subsequent 
years. These military police played an important 
part in the pacification. Their behaviour was most 
praiseworthy. Several battalions later on were 
converted into regular regiments of the Indian Army, 
called at first Burma Regiments. 

For civil administration the Province was parcelled 
out into Districts, at first twelve, afterwards seven- 
teen in number, each in charge of a Deputy Commis- 
sioner, with such Assistants as could be provided. 
In some cases military commandants of outposts 
were invested with civil powers, and did much useful 
work in a civil capacity. Every effort was made to 
enlist local Burman officials under Government, and 
many became Mj^o-oks and rendered valuable service. 
But it was impossible to induce higher officials to 
leave Mandalay, and to take part in the settlement 
of out-districts. The effort was made and failed. 
One of Sir Charles Bernard's first acts was the 
preparation and promulgation of a set of instructions 
to civil officers, an admirable compilation embracing 
in a small compass all the rules necessary at the 
outset for the guidance of his subordinates. That 
was all the law we had in Upper Burma till the 
end of November, 1886. As an instance of the care 
taken to prevent hasty and harsh measures, it may 
be mentioned that all capital sentences had to be 
referred to the Chief Commissioner for confirmation. 
When Commissioners were appointed, the duty of 
confirming these sentences was delegated to them. 

The chaos to which the country was reduced, and 
the confusion which prevailed under the Burmese 



FIRST YEAE AFTER ANNEXATION 161 

Government, rendered the task of settlement extra- 
ordinarily difficult. The country was overrun with 
dacoit bands, ranging in numbers from five to five 
hundred. The names of the leaders, Hla U, Bo* 
Cho, Bo Swe, Oktama, Shwe Yan, became household 
words. For some of the dacoit movements there was 
no doubt a slight political move. A few scions of 
the royal stock who had escaped the massacres of 
1879 set up as pretenders to sovereignty, while here 
and there men of humble origin assumed the style of 
royalty and raised the standard of revolt. But as a 
rule, from the deeds and aspirations of these robber 
bands genuine patriotism was conspicuously absent. 
Most of the gangs consisted of dacoits pure and 
simple, whose sole object was plunder and rapine, 
who held the countryside in terror, and committed 
indescribable atrocities on their own people. Where- 
ever there was an appearance of organized resistance, 
Buddhist monks were among the chiefs. No political 
movement of importance has been without a monk 
as the leading spirit. 

The story of the pacification has been told fully, 
vividly, and accurately by Sir Charles Crosthwaite.f 
It is not my purpose to attempt to tell the story 
again. In the first year the work proceeded slowly, 
but within limits effectually. Many dacoit leaders 
were killed or captured, and the elements of regular 
administration were introduced into several districts. 
Revenue, of no enormous amount, it is true, was 
collected ; the country was covered with telegraph 

* Bo, a chief or leader. 

t " The Pacification of Burma." 

II 



162 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

lines ; useful public works were undertaken. The 
early months were clouded by the loss in action of 
Robert Phayre, a promising civilian ;* the autumn 
was saddened, for me most of all, by the death from 
fever, in Kyauksfe, of Robert Pilcher. A master of 
their language, and sincerely in sympathy with them, 
Pilcher was exceedingly popular with the Burmese. 
The first time I ever saw a man literally beat his 
breast for grief was when I told the good old 
Taungtaya-ngasfe Bof the sad tidings of his death. 
Since then I have seen men and boys beat their 
breasts and shed real tears at the recital of the tale 
of Hassan and Hussein | at the Mohurram. Pilcher 
was a scholar with a touch of genius ; his early 
death was a loss to the State. 

Among the homely virtues of the Burmese must 
be counted respect for parents. This is inculcated 
in the Sacred Books, and forms a really pleasing 
phase of family life. Two nephews of the Taung- 
gwin Mingyi, one of the Council of Ministers, were 
giving trouble in the Ava district. It was suggested 
to the Mingyi that he should use his influence to 
induce them to surrender and make peace with 
Government. " Certainly," said the Mingyi ; " I 
will send for their parents and put them in my 
dungeon and afilict them till their sons come in." 
It was not possible to approve this crude proposal, 

* See p. 106. 

t Chief of eleven hundred and fifty men. He was also called 
the Mobye-Sitk6-gyi. 

t Perhaps most familiar to English readers in "A Persian 
Passion Play" — Matthew Arnold's "Essays in Criticism." 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 163 

but the Mingyi was told that he might ask the 
parents to stay with him, and talk kindly to them 
about their erring children. The young men sub- 
mitted in a week, and gave no further trouble. In 
Sagaing a famous Bo, Min 0, was captured. His 
life was forfeit for many crimes ; but he was an old 
man, and two of his sons were at large, leading 
dacoit bands. Word was sent to them that if they 
did not surrender, their father would be hanged ; but 
if they gave themselves up, his life would be spared. 
Both came in. It will no doubt surprise some people 
to learn that the promise to spare Min O's life was 
kept. 

In the early days of April, 1886, there seemed to 
be a lull in the storm. The time of the Burmese 
New Year approached, always a time of some anxiety, 
when, if ever, disturbance may be expected. Perhaps 
this had not yet been realized. The exact moment 
on which the New Year began was calculated by 
the P6nnas,* who, besides officiating at weddings, 
were also the royal astrologers.f The time was to 
be announced by the firing of a cannon from the 
Palace enclosure. On that April morning the 
astrologers assembled in the courtyard of the Palace. 
The head seer drew a line in the dust, planted a 
small stick, and declared that when the shadow of 
the stick reached the line the auspicious moment 
would have come. At the precise instant I made a 

* See p. 146. 

+ This solemn farce is, I think, still played. Of course, no 
astrology is needed. The method of calculation is explained in 
Sir Alfred Irwin's learned book on the Burmese Calendair. 



164 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

preconcerted sign, and the cannon was fired. It 
might have been arranged as the signal of revolt 
throughout the country. On that day all the 
principal military posts in Upper Burma were 
attacked, doubtless in pursuance of a definite plan. 
Next morning my servant woke me rather early 
with the intimation that " the enemy were at the 
gate." At dawn there had been a serious attack on 
the city of Mandalay, swarming with troops, by a 
band of some twenty or thirty rebels acting in con- 
cert with a few confederates within the walls. Inside 
the city two unlucky medical subordinates were 
kiUed, and within and without incendiary fires were 
lighted. The fire spread even to the Palace en- 
closure, and we were in some anxiety for the main 
buildings, which, once alight, would have burned like 
matchwood. To the roof of the Hlutdaw mounted 
the faithful Thwethaukgyi* Tun Baw and his subor- 
dinates, with chattiest of water and bamboo poles, 
to quench and beat out flying sparks. Luckily the 
fire in the enclosure was mastered, and we returned, 
grimy and thirsty, relieved to find our quarters still 
standing. As the Palace was crowded with military 
and civil ofl&cers and their establishments, and con- 
tained all the records, its destruction would have 
been very inconvenient. 

The fortnight which followed was the longest 

* Literally, great blood -drinker, a Burmese official designation 
of various connotation. Tun Baw was hereditary door-keeper 
and custodian of the Hlutdaw building. He still survives in 
receipt of a modest pension for faithful service. 

t Earthen pots. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 165 

fortnight of my life. It was crowded with incident, 
attacks and risings, above all, incendiary fires. 
Since those days I have ceased to take interest in 
fires. On the Queen's Tower* stood a sentinel, day 
and night, to sound the alarm. The easiest way to 
the tower was through my bedroom. Nightly I 
went to sleep in expectation of being aroused by the 
fire-bugle and the tramp of men, and I was hardly 
ever disappointed. Every night we climbed the 
wooden tower, and saw the blaze of conflagration in 
town or city. Once I asked the sentry if he had 
heard any sound of firing. " Well, sir, I thought I 
did hear one of them there brinjals,"t was the unex- 
pected answer. Once, again, fire broke out within 
the Palace fence, but did not spread. This also was 
well, as close to our quarters were considerable 
quantities of gunpowder and dynamite. With the 
early rains at the end of April fires ceased, and 
Mandalay enjoyed comparative rest. 

It was certain that some of the Burmese officials 
in Mandalay were fomenting seditious movements in 
the country. Suspicion fell upon the Shwehlan 
MyowunJ and the Hlethin Atwinwun.§ The Myowun 
was removed to India in virtue of a warrant issued 
under the invaluable Regulation III. of 1818. He 
was taken from his house by Mr. J. G. Scott, || who 
had joined the Commission and was on general 
duty in Mandalay. Their next meeting was at a 

* See p. 115. 

t Brinjal, a vegetable ; Jingal, a small cannon. 

t See p. 123. § Lord High Admiral. 

II Sir J. George Scott, K.C.I.E. 



166 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

pw& in Maadalay, on a memorable night in 1897, 
long after the Myowun had been allowed to return.* 
The Hlethin Atwinwun, most plausible and bland of 
miscreants, believed to have been deeply involved 
in the massacre of Princes, from whose hands one 
expected to see blood still dripping, was moved to 
visit Calcutta of his own accord in response to a 
general invitation given to Burmese Ministers by 
Lord Dufferin. He stayed in Calcutta for some 
years, much against his will, but solely under pres- 
sure of peaceful persuasion. He returned much 
chastened, and lived on good terms with the officers 
of Government tUl his death early last year. 

In accordance with precedent not always observed. 
King Mind6n had moved his capital from Amarapura 
to Mandalay in the late fifties, transferring thither 
many of the inhabitants and all the entourage of the 
Court. The site was not in all respects well chosen. 
Much of the town was below the level of the river 
in high flood, and had to be protected by an em- 
bankment. In the rains of 1886 the Irrawaddy rose 
to an abnormal height, causing grave anxiety for 
the safety of the bund.f One night in Aiigust the 
disaster came. The embankment was breached, and 
the low-lying parts of the town, as far as the great 
bazaar (zegyo), were inundated. It was a night of 
peril and excitement, which taxed to the utmost the 
energies of the oiB&cers in charge of Mandalay, 
Captain Adamson, Mr. Carter, and Mr. Fforde. Till 
the river began to fall the town remained under 

* See p. 266. The Myowun died this year. 
t Embankment. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 167 

water, and we all went about the streets in boats 
and launches. As the Burman is an amphibious 
being, and the people in the area menaced by the 
flood had ample warning, the loss of life was com- 
paratively small. Searching inquiry established the 
conclusion that twelve persons were drowned. An 
even more melancholy loss of life occurred in connec- 
tion with the distribution of rice to people rendered 
destitute by the flood. In a crowd in a narrow 
passage someone fell ; the throng pushed forward 
unknowing, and many people were trampled to death 
before the press could be stayed. 

One of the objects to which from the beginning 
the Chief Commissioner devoted the full force of his 
energy and influence was the continuation of the 
railway from Toungoo to Mandalay. By dint of 
constant and indefatigable pressure on the higher 
powers, and by steadfast resistance to the suggestion 
that a trunk road should first be made, he succeeded 
in obtaining sanction for this essential work. The 
survey was actually begun in the rains of 1886 ; 
construction was started early in November of that 
year ; and in February, 1889, less than three years 
after the proclamation of annexation, the line was 
opened to traiBSc throughout its whole length. To 
those who have experienced the delay usually at- 
tending the grant of sanction to important and 
costly proposals, the most remarkable feature of this 
record is that leave should have been obtained in 
less than a year from the occupation of Mandalay. 
The construction of the line afforded work to great 
numbers of Burmans and others, and proved one of 



168 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

the most pacifpng influences in the eastern districts. 
There were no engineering difficulties, and the 
climate enabled work to be carried on continuously 
throughout the year. The opening of the railway 
was hailed with joy by the Burmans, who expressed 
their appreciation in characteristic fashion, greeting 
passing trains with shouts of delight and crowding 
to travel in the mi-yahta.* It should never be for- 
gotten that to Sir Charles Bernard alone the 
Province owes the inception of this work, as indeed 
in earlier days to his far-seeing policy it owed the 
construction of the railway from Rangoon to Pegu, 
and thence to Toungoo. Apparently Sir Charles 
Bernard furnished an exception to the rule that 
Indian civilians are persons of narrow horizon. 

Among the measures taken at an early stage to 
facilitate the pacification of Upper Burma was the 
disarmament of the people. Orders to effect this 
were issued by Sir Charles Bernard, and some pro- 
gress was made. It was, however, under Sir 
Charles Crosthwaite's rule that, in the face of much 
opposition, the whole Province was effectually dis- 
armed. No measure has had more excellent results 
in the prevention of serious disturbances. Though 
from time to time dacoits and robbers have become 
possessed of firearms, the thoroughness of the dis- 
armament is proved by the inability of rebels in 
recent years to obtain guns and powder. The Arms 
Act has been very strictly enforced in Burma, the 
number of firearms in each district being strictly 
limited, with the most beneficial effect. 

* Fire-carriage. 



FIEST YEAE AFTER ANNEXATION 169 

In the time of King Mind6n and King Thebaw 
many foreigners, mostly French and Italian, flocked 
to Mandalay and obtained various appointments in 
the King's service. The downfall of the Burmese 
kingdom deprived these gentlemen of their employ- 
ment. All had claims against the Burmese Govern- 
ment for arrears of pay, for goods sold, or for work 
done. Our Government naturally accepted re- 
sponsibility for the lawful debts of its predecessor. 
The claims of foreign creditors were investigated 
as quickly as possible, and those established were 
discharged. Besides these, there were literally 
hundreds of other demands for payment of sums 
alleged to be due from the late Government. These 
claims were laboriously investigated and reinvesti- 
gated, and finally adjudicated upon by the Govern- 
ment of India. Substantial payments were made in 
settlement of debts sufficiently proved. 

In those early days for most officers, military and 
civil, in Mandalay life was a ceaseless round of 
strenuous labour. For me it was intensely exciting. 
All day and often far into the night my time was 
fully occupied. The enthralling interest of seeing 
from within and from the centre the making of a 
new Province, of taking a humble share in the work, 
was a privilege which falls to few men in a genera- 
tion. The receipt of reports from districts, the issue 
of the Chief Commissioner's orders, daily contact 
with men of distinction in arms or civil affairs, the 
early morning ride with my Chief or with a comrade, 
sometimes even with the Commander-in-Chief, Sir 
Frederick Roberts, of whose kindness I have the 



170 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

pleasantest recollection, opportunities for the study 
of Burmese life and character, filled to overflowing 
the swiftly passing weeks. Bustle and excitement 
and good fellowship formed an exhilarating combina- 
tion. All the holiday I had that year was a run 
down to Rangoon for a day to see my wife and 
family off to England. But who wanted holidays 
at such a time, when his work was far more interest- 
ing and stimulating than other people's play ? 
With Stevenson we might say that we had " the 
profit of industry with the pleasures of a pastime." 

It should hardly be necessary to say that in those 
early months the outskirts and fringes, the Shan 
States and the Chin and Kachin Hills, were un- 
touched. It has been suggested that in dealing 
with the Shan country there was undue delay. 
Anyone who realizes how much there was to do in 
the plains, and how impossible it was to do every- 
thing at once, recognizes the futility of the sugges- 
tion. The Chins were left severely alone. The only 
attempt made this year to penetrate into the Kachin 
Hills was the luckless expedition to Ponkan, * which 
returned to Bhamo re infecta, to the extreme wrath 
of Sir Charles Bernard and Sir George White. 

The Shan States occupied the whole of the east of 
Burma, stretching even beyond the Mekong River. 
They constituted an integral part of the Burmese 
Empire, but were administered by their own heredi- 
tary chiefs, puny folk who grovelled before the 
pinchbeck Majesty of Burma, and were on a footing 

* Ponkan was a bogey to the people of Bhamo till it was 
settled, without much difficulty, by Sir George Wolseley in 1889. 



FIRST YEAE AFTER ANNEXATION 171 

quite iuferior to that of native rulers in India. 
The first of the Shan chiefs to open communication 
with us was the Sawbwa* of Hsipaw, or, as the 
Burmese called it, Thibaw, the State from which 
the late King derived his title. This enlightened 
chief had a romantic history which will bear re- 
telling. Some years before, having quarrelled with 
the King, he fled for his life to Lower Burma. 
With a few attendants he took up his residence in 
Kemmendine, a suburb of Rangoon. Presently he 
came to believe, very likely with good reason, that 
at the King's instigation two of his servants were 
plotting his death. Accustomed in his State to 
exercise the power of life and death, he tried them 
in his own mind, found them guilty, and executed 
them with his own hand, shooting them both. He 
was tried by the Recorder of Rangoon (Mr. C. F. 
Egerton Allen f) and a jury, convicted, and sentenced 
to death. The capital sentence was at once com- 
muted to transportation for life, and the chief began 
to serve his term in the Rangoon jail, where he was 
at first set to do the usual hard labour required of 
prisoners. Mr. Crosthwaite, who was acting as 
Chief Commissioner, found him in this sad condition, 
and ordered material alleviation of his lot. The 
Sawbwa 's faithful Mahadevi,J who had accompanied 
her husband, besieged the Chief Commissioner with 
petitions for his release. Before long Mr. Crosth- 
waite yielded to her importunity and set free the 
Sawbwa on condition that he never returned to 

* The highest title of a Shan chief. 

t Seep. 17. t Chief wife. 



172 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

British territory. He went to the independent 
State of Karenni. At or about the time of the 
occupation of Mandalay he made his way back to 
Thibaw, and after a brief struggle regained posses- 
sion of his State. 

Quite early in 1886 the Sawbwa wrote to me, as 
Secretary to the Administration, saying that he had 
received much kindness from the British Govern- 
ment, and desired to be on terms of friendship with 
us. It has always seemed to me that this was a 
very magnanimous act. I agree that it also showed 
much wisdom. The Sawbwa was a man of great 
intelligence. He had seen and experienced the 
power of the British Government. No doubt he 
realized that he was dealing with a Government 
immeasurably stronger than that which it had dis- 
placed, and he saw his interest in being on good 
terms with it. I think, too, that he had a shining 
vision of becoming an independent Sovereign in 
alliance with India. After all these deductions are 
made, it implied true greatness of soul for a semi- 
civilized chief to remember the clemency which had 
spared his life, to forget the dock and the prison cell 
and work-yard. The correspondence begun by the 
Sawbwa was continued on cordial terms. Early in 
1887, in spite of the passionate entreaties of his 
advisers, who were filled with gloomy forebodings, 
Kun Saing came down to Mandalay. This again 
showed courage and foresight. There was not a 
British officer or soldier in the length and breadth 
of the Shan States. Mandalay was full of troops. 
Though he brought a fairly large retinue, the 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 173 

Sawbwa knew that he was placing himself entirely in 
our power. His confidence was more than justified. 
He was received with some ceremony, Mr. J. E. 
Bridges, C.S., and I, as representatives of Govern- 
ment, meeting him at Aung-bin-le with a squadron 
of cavalry and a military band. Under this escort 
the Sawbwa made a triumphant entry into Mandalay, 
and was allowed even to ride through the Palace 
grounds. In the King's time he might sooner have 
hoped to fly over them. Sir Frederick Roberts and 
Sir Charles Bernard were among the many spec- 
tators of the procession. Accompanied by the 
Mahadevi, the Sawbwa was suitably lodged in a 
Win* outside the city walls. The ladies in his train 
were somewhat scandalized at being photographed 
by an enthusiastic amateur before they had time to 
change out of riding kit. The Sawbwa's amdtsf 
continued in a state of alarm all the time they, were 
in Mandalay. Their terror rose almost to frenzy 
when one day the Chief was taken for a picnic on 
the river in an Indian Marine vessel. Even the 
Chief was somewhat relieved when he landed safe 
and sound on the Hard. 

The Sawbwa had the luck to be in Mandalay at 
the celebration of Queen Victoria's first Jubilee. 
Partly in honour of that auspicious occasion, partly 
in recognition of his confidence and loyalty, the 
tribute of Thibaw was remitted for ten years, and 
three small adjacent States, Maing-16n, Th&nzfe, 
and Maing-t6n, to which very shadowy claims had 
been preferred, were added to the Sawbwa's terri- 
* House and compound. t Advisers, ministers. 



174 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

tory. Sir Charles Bernard's action in making over 
these States has been criticized. Viewing the case 
calmly after the lapse of years, I humbly think that 
his decision was wise. The suggestion of the risk of 
creating a powerful Shan State strong enough to be 
a menace to Government was plainly ridiculous. If 
all the Shan States were united under one Chief, he 
would not have as much power as the ruler of a 
second-class native State in India. Thibaw with its 
added sub-States could never be in a position to 
cause the Government of Burma a moment's anxiety. 
On the other hand, a large and comparatively 
wealthy State is more easily managed and likely to 
be administered better than a lot of small tracts. 

Although Kun Saing was not an ideal ruler ; 
although from time to time complaints were made 
against him ; although, I believe unjustly, even his 
loyalty was doubted, he was an enlightened and 
intelligent chief of some subtlety. Twice in later 
years he visited England, where he had the honour 
of being received by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. 
The story, from first to last, has a ring of the Old 
Testament. The place most of all admired by the 
Sawbwa was the Crystal Palace (hman-nan-daw). 
Towards the end of his life, when the first signs of 
unrest in the East became dimly apparent, he is 
said to have contracted a secret marriage with the 
Pakangyi Supaya,* King Thebaw's sister. Not that 
he meditated treason ; but if anything should happen, 
he meant to be on the right side. 

Two of Kun Saing's sons were partly educated in 
* See p. 149. 




The Sawdwa of Thibaw. 



FIKST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 175 

England. The elder, Saw TLkh, succeeded his father, 
and is now the polished, courtly Chief of Thibaw. 
The story of Saw Lu, the younger son, is pathetic 
and instructive. When still a boy he was sent to 
England, and was for a time at Rugby. He was a 
studious and ambitious youth, whose desire was to 
be, not a King, but a doctor. Most unwisely, merely 
to see how he was getting on, his father recalled 
him, and he was turned loose in Thibaw at the age 
of about sixteen. The temptations besetting the 
Chiefs young son in his father's capital were too 
strong for him, and he fell from grace. The cup of 
his iniquity brimmed over when he eloped with a 
young girl who had been selected as the Sawbwa's 
Abishag. The fugitives were brought back, and the 
boy was cast into prison. " Is this your British 
justice ?" he indignantly asked the political officer 
who came to condole with him. Presently he was 
released, and came to see me in Rangoon. " I don't 
know what to do," he said ; " I have apologized to 
the governor, but he won't forgive me." He was 
an exceedingly good-looking, nice-mannered youth, 
like a pleasant English public-school boy. He was 
not allowed to return to England. Over his subse- 
quent history it is kinder to draw a veil. The moral 
of this story is that if a Burman or Shan, especially 
a Chiefs son, is to come to England, he should be 
sent while still young, and should be kept at a good 
public school and at the University until his char- 
acter has been formed. He should on no account 
be brought back midway in the course of his 
education. 



176 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Even more deeply learned in Shan than in 
Burmese, Pilcher would have been the first civil 
officer in the Shan States. After his death, I was 
designated by Sir Charles Bernard for that post. 
When the time came, another officer was selected. 
Speaking seriously and without reserve, I have no 
doubt that this was for the advantage of the Shan 
country. No one could have been more conspicu- 
ously successful than Mr. Hildebrand* and Mr. 
Scott ;f no one is likely to have done nearly so well. 
In view of the original intention, in the cold weather 
of 1886 I was given a holiday from office- work, and 
sent as civil officer with a column under Colonel E. 
StedmanJ to Th6nze. Through this State ran the 
trade route to the Northern Shan States, Thibaw, 
Theinni, and Taungbaing. Along this road came 
caravans of bullocks laden with letpet.§ Owing to 
dissensions in Thonzfe, the trade was stopped. The 
object of our expedition, the first sent into the Shan 
country, was to obtain information and to open the 
road for traders. Early in November, when the 
season should have been settled, on a fine Sunday 
afternoon, I rode out to join the rearguard at T6nbo. 
Next morning we were to catch up the main column 
at Zibingale. From Tonbo to Zibingale we climbed 

* Mr. A. H. Hildebrand, CLE. 

+ Sir J. George Scott, K.C.I.E. 

I General Sir Edward Stedman, G.C.B., K.C.I.E., successively 
Inspector-General of Police in Burma, Quartermaster-General in 
India, General OiBcer Commanding the Burma Division, and 
Military Secretary at the India Office, one of the most distin- 
guished officers of the Bengal Army. 

§ Pickled tea. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 177 

the hill in a torrent of rain, letting our ponies loose 
to scramble up the steep and rocky ascent, while 
the Gurkhas chaffed one another and laughed at the 
weather. At Zibingale we stayed under canvas in 
the rain for three days and three nights, quite com- 
fortable in our tents, but rather aggrieved at having 
to wade knee-deep in mud to mess. 

The Madrasi garrison of the post was prostrate 
with fever almost to a man ; of our own small force 
about a quarter fell sick. By judicious doses of 
quinine, I saved my servants and myself, so that we 
aU came through unscathed. After three days the 
rain ceased and we began our march in cool 
November sunshine. On that delightful plateau, 
some three thousand feet above the sea, the winter 
climate is perfect. We rode through forest paths 
and fairy glades, wild roses clustering in the hedges. 
At Pyintha and Singaing, we first saw the bazaar, 
held every five days, a custom peculiar to the Shan 
States and Further East. Buyers and sellers came 
from all the countryside, often from distant places. 
It is much like market-day in a country town in 
England. The market at Singaing and at Pyinul- 
win was of some interest, and attracted strange folk 
from the hills. It was not to be compared with the- 
great bazaars held at Kengtting, Namkham, or even 
Mog6k, thronged with many varieties of races in 
rich diversities of attire. To us, the people most 
novel and attractive were the Shans, men swagger- 
ing in baggy trousers and large flapping straw hats 
brigand-like, but formidable only in appearance ; girls 
with russet-rosy cheeks, shy and gentle. Pyin-u-lwin, 

12 



178 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

a charmingly situated village of some five-and- 
twenty houses, with a market-place and a gambling 
ring, won our hearts. Though we did not actually 
discover Pyin-u-lwin, we were among its earliest 
visitors. We were received with all kindness and 
hospitality. Several of us were housed in the village 
monastery, where we were heartily welcomed by the 
monk. He was still there when I left Burma 
twenty-four years later. With Captain E. W. Dun, 
our Intelligence OflScer, I inspected a curious 
magnetic rock in the neighbouring jungle. Some 
years afterwards it was described as a new discovery 
by a geologist of note. It has been lost again, but 
will doubtless be found some day. Soon after our 
return, on Colonel Stedman's recommendation, a 
military post was established at Pyin-u-lwin, and 
called May-mj^o, after Colonel May, of the Bengal 
army, a Mutiny veteran, the first Commandant. 
May-m^o is now the summer residence of the Burma 
Government and the headquarters of the Burma 
division, a flourishing hill-station with a population 
of about 12,000. Without pretension to the pictur- 
esque, it is a place of great charm and quiet beauty, 
with no palm-trees and few pagodas, conspicuously 
un- Oriental, more like a corner of Surrey than of 
Burma.* 

From Pyin-u-lwin we marched to Th6nzfe, through 
a desolate country, overgrown with elephant-grass, 
but with many signs of past prosperity. At the 
ruined town of Thonzfe, now no more than a strag- 

* My wife spent the hot season of 1888 at May-myo, the first 
Englishwoman who ever visited it. 



FIRST YEAR AFTER ANNEXATION 179 

gling village, we halted and tried to open com- 
munication with Hein Se,* a bandit who claimed to 
be Chief of the State. I promised him a safe- 
conduct and liberty to depart if we could not come 
to terms, and to encourage him, I offered to let him 
keep my messenger as a hostage for his safety. 
This offer was made with the knowledge and consent 
of the messenger, a little Shan chiefling known as 
the Tabet Myosa. Him we had found, practically 
destitute, in Mandalay, where he had been detained 
by the King. As a matter of grace, he was given 
an allowance of Rs. 10 f a month. He accompanied 
me on this tour, and pluckily undertook to carry my 
letter to Hein Se. As he was leaving, he turned at 
the tent-door, and said : " But you will let him 
come back, won't you ?" Accepting my assurance, 
he went off. I know that he discharged his mission, 
as I received a reply. But his courage was not put 
to the extreme test. Hiein Se behaved like a gentle- 
man, treated the envoy kindly, and sent him back 
in safety. He himself declined my invitation. The 
fiiture history of Tabet may be told here. A few 
months later, when Mr. Hildebrand and Mr. Scott 
went to the Shan States, I sent the Myosa with 
them. He made himself useful, and showed nerve 
and ability. When, owing to the persistent re- 
calcitrance of its ruler, who fled across the Salween 
and stayed there, the large State of Yatsauk was in 
need of a chief, Tabet was chosen. He ruled Yat- 

* Hein, a Shan official of about the standing of a Circle Thugyi 
in Burma. 
t 13s. 4d. 



180 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

sauk with loyalty and intelligence, and handed down 
the succession to his son. His fortune, probably his 
merit, was better than that of another Shan chiefling 
of similar status, the Maingkaing Myosa, who also 
received from Government 13s. 4d. a month, and 
received no more. 

The rest of this tour was without incident. We 
explained to the people of Th6nze the beneficent 
intentions of Government, and gave a practical 
example of the good manners of a British military 
force. The Gurkhas of the column, then as ever, 
were specially popular with the people to whom 
doubtless they are akin. 

In February, 1887, Mandalay was not behind the 
rest of India in celebrating the Jubilee of Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria. The ceremonies were 
designedly arranged so as to give the people an 
opportunity of demonstrating their loyalty and 
devotion to the Crown by revels which they them- 
selves appreciated. For a week pwes* and other 
Burmese festivities went on day and night. On the 
first day came all the members of the royal family, 
all the high officials, and a crowd of others, in their 
gayest and richest attire. In the principal ballet 
appeared, probably for the last time, the famous 
singer and dancer, Yindaw Ma Le, the favourite of 
Princes, undisputed prima donna of the Burmese 
operatic stage, who ten years before had been sent 
to Rangoon by Mind6n Min to dance at the Pro- 
clamation rejoicings. Twenty years later her 
successor, Ma Twe Le, also a lady of supreme grace 
* See p. 45 et seq. 



FIEST YEAE AFTER ANNEXATION 181 

and serpentine charm,* had the honour of dancing 
before Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and 
Princess of Wales. 

One of the relaxations of those early days was to 
see the working of the Elephant Kheddah at 
Amarapura. The Kheddah establishment, inherited 
from the King and maintained for some time, con- 
sisted of a number of tame elephants, thoroughly 
well trained, with Burmese riders and hunters. 
The tame elephants, some with riders, some guided 
only by their own sagacity, plunged into a jungle 
teeming with herds of their wild brethren. By 
artful strategy a wild elephant would be detached 
from his fellows, lured into the midst of the tame 
herd, and gradually drawn to the Kheddah en- 
closure. This was a quadrangle, entered only by a 
funnel-shaped passage, surrounded by a strong outer 
wall of brick and by an inner stockade of stout teak 
posts set at intervals, with a space between the 
stockade and the wall. By his clever, perfidious 
friends, the captive was cunningly edged and hustled 
towards the passage till finally he was thrust into 
its mouth. Then the gate was securely fastened 
and the quarry was alone at the mercy of his 
captors. The hunters teased him with blunt spears 
and sticks, not doing him any real harm, but annoy- 
ing him exceedingly, escaping his charge by darting 
between the posts of the palisade, set wide enough 
apart to admit a man but not an elephant. This 

* The suppleness of Burmese women is remarkable. To lean 
backwards and pick up with the eyelid a rupee placed on the 
floor is not an unknown feat. 



182 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

was a sport of some danger, requiring nerve and 
agility. When the poor beast was thoroughly tired, 
he was noosed and tied up in the Keddah, and the 
process of training began. Spectators sat in crowds 
on the wall to watch this pastime. I do not think 
it occurred to any of us that it was somewhat cruel. 
In March, 1887, Sir Charles Bernard left Burma. 
He was entertained by the Headquarters Mess at a 
farewell dinner, where Sir George White* proposed 
his health in moving and eloquent terms, quoting 
most appropriately the famous lines : 

" Him who cares not to be great, 
But as he saves or serves the State, 
Not once or twice in our rough island story, 
The path of duty was the way to glory : 
He that walks it, only thirsting 
For the right, and learns to deaden 
Love of self, before his journey closes, 
He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting 
Into glossy purples, which outredden 
All voluptuous garden-roses." 

We escorted our guest to the steamer, and there 
bade farewell to our Chief and our friend. 

* Sir George White's close connection with Upper Burma was 
never forgotten. When Ladysmith was relieved, the Upper 
Burma Club sent him a telegram of congratulation, of which we 
received a courteous acknowledgment, probably the only instance 
of an exchange of telegrams between Mandalay and Ladysmith. 



CHAPTEE XI 

A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 

Buddhist monks are the most iafluential and most 
respected class of the community. In passing it 
may be mentioned that there is no such person as a 
Buddhist priest. No one exercises any sacerdotal 
function or celebrates any Sacrament. The religious 
are not priests, but monks, a numerous and well- 
organized body, wielding indefinite but real authority. 
In every village at least one monk is found. In 
Mandalay, the typical Burmese city, they were 
numbered by thousands. Professed monks are 
bound by vows of chastity and poverty, and are 
subject to strict discipline. Wearing the yellow 
robe, the distinctive mark of their order, as morn- 
ing comes round monks and novices from every 
monastery walk slowly through the streets, each 
bearing a bowl for the receipt of the offerings of the 
faithful. We must not call this vessel a " begging- 
bowl." One of the many acts from which a monk 
is bound to abstain is asking for anything. Volun- 
tary gifts are freely offered, and are received as a 
matter of course. The lives of monks are devoted 
to meditation, the practice of austerities, the study 
and exposition of the law, the instruction of youth. 

183 



184 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

Every Burmese boy enters a monastery, stays for a 
longer or shorter period, and receives there the 
elements of secular learning. Also, much to his 
profit, he is instructed in religious and moral duties. 
Thus it happens that in Burma elementary educa- 
tion is widely spread. The proportion of literate 
persons is greater than in any country where educa- 
tion is not compulsory. It is rare to find a man 
who cannot at least read and write. Sometimes 
men profess to have forgotten these arts, but as a 
rule this is mere laziness. The influence of monks 
having remained undisturbed by foreign contact, 
five-and-twenty years ago sound education in the 
vernacular was more common in Upper Burma than 
in the rest of the Province. In my own Court in 
Mandalay, in comparatively early days, a Lower 
Burman clerk was stumbling over the reading of a 
document. A bystander, apparently a plain man, 
offered his services. Borrowing a pair of spectacles 
from his neighbour, he read the crabbed text with 
fluency and accuracy. The incident does not prove, 
but it illustrates, my argument. 

Apart from the instruction of youth and the 
exposition of the law, monks are not supposed 
to take an interest in mundane affairs. Their 
aloofness has been exaggerated. In a country 
village, for example, the monk was obviously the 
most learned and disinterested, very likely the most 
intelligent, person. Inevitably he was sought as the 
arbitrator of disputes. That monks often acted in 
that capacity, I have found abundant evidence in 
old documents produced before me in court. Some 



A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 185 

of these went back a hundred years, when the 
country was quite free from foreign influence, and 
cannot be regarded as indicating degeneracy of the 
monastic order. Again, it has been said that the 
authority of monks depended solely on their personal 
qualities and religious character, that it had no 
secular sanction. As regards Upper Burma in the 
King's time, nothing can be farther from the 
truth. Buddhist ecclesiastics relied on the arm of 
flesh. The King and his officers promptly and 
effectually enforced the commands of the hierarchy. 
Laymen were severely punished for ecclesiastical 
ofiences, and recalcitrant monks were imprisoned 
within the precincts of a pagoda, or compelled to do 
acts of penance. In early days in Mandalay one 
Deputy Commissioner essayed to maintain the 
ancient rule, and to give effect to monastic sen- 
tences. Unfortunately this good practice could not 
last. Now the hierarchy complain that, as Govern- 
ment will not enforce discipline, authority is waning, 
with disastrous results. The most that the Courts 
have found possible is to give efiect to decisions of 
duly constituted religious tribunals in disputes of a 
civil nature between members of the order. Another ^ 
instance of the interference of monks in worldly 
affairs, their almost invariable complicity in political 
intrigues, has been already mentioned. The Kinwun 
Mingyi himself emerged from a monastery to take 
part in the rebellion which placed Mind6n Min on 
the throne. 

On the whole, in Upper Burma as we found it, 
the monks constituted a respectable body, including 



186 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

many learned and devout persons. I do not pre- 
tend that all were immaculate. Doubtless there 
were idle and dissolute monks. One hears from 
Burmans themselves of some who were monks by 
day and who at night threw off the yellow robe 
and ranged the town. Some of them dabbled 
in magic and alchemy. A really pious monk could 
hardly become a dacoit chief But the great 
majority honestly lived up to their profession. The 
fact that the vows were not irrevocable tended to 
prevent the occurrence of scandals sometimes inci- 
dent to monastic life. Complete liberty of renuncia- 
tion lessened temptation to break the vows. It 
was always open to a monk to return to the world 
and, as it was phrased, again to become a manl 
Even if a shadow of discredit attached to a monk 
who had come out (twet), it was faint and transi- 
tory. In a land where life is simple and much 
concealment impossible, no body of men who lived 
unworthily could retain the respect of all classes. 
Every layman, from the King downwards, treated 
monks as superior beings. I have seen the Kinwun 
Mingyi lean out of his carriage and pay the graceful 
Burmese reverence* to a humble passing monk. 

* A great deal of nonsense has been written from time to 
time on the subject of the Burmese custom of Shiko. A Burman 
coming into the presence of a superior, a monkj a member of 
the royal house, an official, an elder of his family, adopts an 
attitude akin to kneeling, and places the palms of his hands 
together. Placing the palms of the hands together and slightly 
raising them is the essence of the attitude of respect. It is a 
charming and graceful salutation. In European schools boys are 
taught to adopt instead a weird caricature of a military salute or 



A FEW WOEDS ON BUDDHISM 187 

In Upper Burma the fine flower of Buddhism 
flourished. The monastic system was elaborately I 
organized. At the head was the Thathanabaing ; 
under him were Gaing-oks, Gaingdauks, and Taik- 
6ks,* in due succession and subordination. The 
Thathanabaing was not, as some suppose, elected ; 
he was appointed by the King. In former days his 
authority prevailed throughout Burma. As by 
degrees fragments of the country became British 
territory, the Thathanabaing's jurisdiction naturally 
shrank, being restricted to the King's dominions. 
Even if for no other reason, it was impossible for 
British officers to recognize in Lower Burma the 
authority of a monk who lived in Ava or Mandalay, 
and owed his power and appointment to a foreign 
monarch. Consequently the bonds of discipline 
were relaxed. Monks and laity in Lower Burma 
were as sheep without a shepherd. Heresies and 

a debased imitation of the Indian salaam, which they do un- 
gracefully and with the ugliest effect. I do not care very much 
for the prostration on the floor, and think it may be overdone. I 
used to make people of any standing sit uncomfortably on chairs. 
But what objection there can be to the hands slightly lifted in 
reverence, a natural and beautiful action, why it should be 
thought more dignified to pretend to cast dust on the head in 
salaaming, I cannot understand. The last outrage perpetrated 
in schools is to teach boys to stand with arms folded across their 
chests in the presence of their elders and betters. 

* Heads of Gaings, that is, collections of monasteries ; 
assistants to Gaing-dks, heads of large monastic institutions. 
Roughly, I think, this is a fair interpretation. In speaking of 
these dignitaries, I abstain from the common practice of using 
the nomenclature of Christian Churches. The analogies are 
superficial. 



188 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

schisms rent the Buddhist Church. The influence 
of monks waned perceptibly. Buddhism was and is 
still a living creed in Lower Burma. But it cannot be 
pretended that it is so vital and beneficent a force 
as even now in the Upper districts. Similarly, as 

I already indicated, monastic education declined. 

i The absence of ecclesiastical control has caused some 
deterioration of character in Lower Burma. 

The policy of the Government of India has always 
been to observe strict neutrality in religious matters, 
to interest itself in no form of creed. All education 
directed by Government has been rigidly secular. 
It is now felt by many that this policy, however 
well-intentioned, was mistaken, that in allowing, or 
even encouraging education to be exclusively 
secular, Government has done much to sap the 
foundations of morality and loyalty, to undermine 
the basis of character. Probably the right course 
would have been not to stand aloof from the divers 
creeds of the Empire, but to take an active interest 
in all, and to see that each had fair play and 
encouragement. For a Christian Government to do 
this would have been difficult ; most likely the attempt 
would not have been tolerated by public opinion 
at home. So far as India is concerned, the tiresome 
thing about public opinion in England is that, 
where interest might be beneficial, it cannot be 
roused ; while in some vital matter in which only 
the man on the spot has materials for judging, the 
British public, or its spokesmen, insist on interfering. 
(How pleasant would it be, for instance, to see on 
newspaper posters such legends as — 



A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 189 
ANOTHER WRONG TO BURMA. 

BURMA'S SAD FINANCIAL STATE. 

How unlikely we are to see them !) Perhaps of the 
two mistakes lack of interest is the less mischievous. 
Recently we have made a step in advance. Religious 
teaching in State schools has been permitted ; all 
pupUs may receive instruction in the creeds which 
they profess. 

Sir Charles Bernard recognized the value of 
monastic influence, and did his best to enlist it on 
the side of law and order. It was particularly 
desirable that monks should be discouraged from 
taking part in political agitation. It was also 
hoped that the monastic system of education might 
be maintained and strengthened in sympathy with 
our own Education Department. At the time of 
the annexation the Thathanabaing was a weak but 
well-meaning person who had been King Thebaw's 
tutor. The Chief Commissioner interviewed him in 
person and essayed to excite his enthusiasm for the 
new Government. In recognition of the part taken 
by monks in secular education, monthly gifts of rice 
were sent to the Thathanabaing and his trusted 
counsellors, the PS-kan and Hladwe Sadaws. The 
Thathanabaing was induced to visit Rangoon with 
a view to the extension of his authority over Lower 
Burma. Government provided for his journey, 
which was made in some state with a long train of 
monks. He was received with rapture at Prome 
and in Rangoon ; and a rest-house (zayat) for him 



190 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

and his successors . was built on the slope of the 
Shwe Dagon Pagoda. The effort was ineffectual. 
Neither that Thathanabaing nor his successors have 
exercised any power in Lower Burma, which still 
remains in a state of reprobation. Another attempt 
was made to conciliate Buddhist sympathy. Many 
monasteries and other religious buildings had been 
used by troops and others for Government purposes, 
and some damage had been done. All over the 
country monks had hospitably received and enter- 
tained our officers, and had raised no objection to 
the necessary temporary use of sacred buildings. 
As a compensation for disturbance and damage, a 
substantial sum of money was disbursed to a large 
number of monks. As monks may not touch gold 
or silver, the actual coins were placed in the hands 
of lay followers. These well-meant efforts had, I 
fear, no appreciable effect. The Thathanabaing had 
not the authority, even if he had the will, to control 
-, and direct his monks by moral force alone. Monks 
were civil to British officers, often glad to have the 
I protection of a military post ; but they did not go 
! out of their way to preach submission to an heretical 
' Government. It is hardly to be expected that they 
would do so. 

After this Thathanabaing had condescended to 
return, as runs the Burmese euphemism for the 
death of a monk, it was some years before Govern- 
ment made up its mind as to the appointment of a 
successor. No one could lawfully be Thathanabaing 
unless appointed by the ruling power. But it was 
contrary to established principle for Government to 




The THATHA-NA-BAINli. 



A FEW WOEDS ON BUDDHISM 191 

appoint a Buddhist ecclesiastic. For some years the 
monastic world was given up to anarchy. At last 
it was decided that, though Government could not 
appoint, it might recognize ; and though it could 
not give material aid, it might lend moral support. 
To ascertain the monk who would be generally 
acceptable, an election was held. This device has 
now been adopted on two or three occasions, so that 
people have begun to believe that it was always 
customary. The last two holders of the office have 
been formally recognized by the Government of 
Burma ; the present Thathanabaing received a 
sanad* from the Lieutenant-Governor. He is a 
monk of learning, and particular suavity of manner 
and disposition. While maintaining due reserve and 
dignity, he has always been on excellent terms with 
Government and its officers. He has loyally exer- 
cised his influence on the side of law and order, and 
has tried to smooth the path of the Education 
Department, anxious to link the monastic with the 
Government system. Without posing as liberal or 
progressive, he has been wise and conciliatory. In 
later years my personal relations with the Thathana- 
baing were extremely cordial. Once he honoured 
me by his presence at a garden-party in Mandalay. 
This was, I think, an unprecedented occasion. On 
the lovely lawn fringing the moat he sat, surrounded 
by yellow-robed counsellors, the centre of a pictur- 
esque circle, watched with reverence by Burmese, 
with respectful interest by European and Indian, 

* In this instance a formal document setting forth the terms 
of the recognition. 



192 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

guests. Among my most treasured possessions is a 
rosary which he sent me, with a charming farewell 
letter, when I left the Province. 

The order of Buddhist nuns must not be for- 
gotten. They are comparatively few in number, 
and, though regarded with respect, do not seem 
to exercise special influence. Living sometimes in 
seclusion, sometimes in communities, they occupy no 
prominent place. Their lives are spent in meditation 
and devotion, free from secular cares. Often when 
stricken by a great sorrow a woman becomes a nun, 
and adheres to her profession for the rest of her life. 
Innocent, harmless ladies, if they are not active in 
good works their passive piety is a gracious example. 
A nun whom you meet in the road has a pleasing 
habit of invoking a blessing as you pass. 

Buddhism as professed by the Burmese is of a 
high and pure type. In Burma, and in Burma alone 
throughout India,* Buddhism is a vital force. The 
suggestion that religion is in danger, or that monks 
have been ill-used, is the surest way to rouse popular 
feeling. The ethics of Buddhism are as lofty and 
inspiring as those of any faith in the world. 
Obviously Burmans do not invariably shape their 
lives in strict accordance with the precepts of the 
law. But in spite of failings and shortcomings, the 
spiritual and moral force of their religion sheds a 

* A Hindu gentleman, orthodox but emancipated, after a tour 
in Burma, did me the honour of dining at my table. In the 
course of the evening he said to me that, after seeing Burma, he 
thought it much to be regretted that Buddhism had not main- 
tained itself as the prevailing religion of India. 



A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 193 

penetrating influence on national life and character. 
Though its every rule may be daily violated, 
Buddhism does tend to make Burmans humane, 
tolerant, kind-hearted, charitable. All Burmans are 
well-grounded in the mysteries of their faith. When 
they sin, they sin against light and conscience. In 
all but the most abandoned, traces of the good 
influence of their religion are evident. One very 
pleasing effect is extension of benevolence in theory 
alv7ays, in practice often, to every sentient being. 
Consider, for instance, the kindly attitude of Burmans 
to lower animals. From the plump bullocks which 
draw the primitive, creaking* carts of the country 
to the pariah dogs which swarm in every village, or 
the pigs which used to scavenge the streets of 
Mandalay (whose chase, not by the Burmese, was 
the only form of pig-sticking known in Burma), all 
are objects of compassion and care. The Burman's 
robust bullocks, nourished on their mothers' milk, 
contrast pleasingly with the lean kine of the Indian. 
You will even see a pious Burman save a deadly 
snake from destruction, and set it loose in a place of 
security. This, perhaps, is an extreme instance of 
logical regard for principle. 

Signs of the extent to which religion forms part 
of everyday life strike the most casual observer. 

* One patriarchal Deputy Commissioner made a law that carts 
entering his headquarter town, at least by the road which passed 
his house, should not creak. Every cart before long carried a 
small pot of oil, and at a respectful distance halted while the 
wheels were effectively greased. 

13 



194 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

The country is fuU of pagodas, monasteries, theins,* 
images of the Buddha, zayats. Pagodas vary in size 
from the stately Shwe Dagon to the humble fane on 
the outskirts of a village. It may be worth while to 
explain that a pagoda is not a temple in which 
worshippers pay their devotions. It is a solid struc- 
ture, often built over sacred relics, of varying type, 
the most prevalent being that of the great pagoda 
at Rangoon. Some pagodas are richly gilded, others 
merely whitewashed. Each is crowned with a ti, 
if possible studded with jewels. The very topmost 
pinnacle is often an inverted soda-water bottle, a 
primitive shield against lightning. Monks must 
have monasteries. These also differ in glory, from 
the great buildings, richly ornamented with carving 
covered with gold, founded by the King or Queen 
or some high official, which adorn the royal city, to 
the mat and thatched hut which shelters the poor 
village monk. A Burman who amasses wealth, the 
farmer who has an abundant harvest and good 
prices, the merchant whose venture has been suc- 
cessful, the rich broker or money-lender, does not 
hoard his gains. He spends them on jewels for his 
wife and daughters, on silks for these ladies and 
himself, on building a monastery, or a pagoda, a 
zayat, incidentally on a pw^f or an ahlu.J The 

* Thein, a very sacred building, containing images of the 
Buddha, where ordination services are held. The land on which 
a thein is built must be sacred in perpetuity and granted by the 
King. In modern practice grants of land for theins are signed 
by the Lieutenant-Governor himself. 

t See p. 45 et seq. 

\ A feast and presentation of gifts to monks. 



A FEW WOEDS ON BUDDHISM 195 

builder of a pagoda is a Paya-taga, of a monastery a 
Kyaung-taga, honorific titles in familiar use, as 
common as the title of Colonel is said to be in the 
United States. Laymen are associated in religious 
observances. A monastery has a lay attendant, a 
Kappiya-taga, who makes it his business to see 
that the building is maintained and duly swept and 
garnished. Every eighth day is set apart by the 
pious for religious observances, for meditation, for 
visiting a pagoda, for attendance at a monastery to 
hear the Law expounded. Each year there is a long 
Lenten period (Wa), when abstinence and religious 
practices are enjoined on the faithful, when good 
Buddhists refrain from marrying, when monks re- 
main secluded in their monasteries, undertaking 
no journeys. A monk reckons his monastic life by 
the number of Lents he has observed. All this 
sounds rather gloomy, and in theory Buddhism 
ought to have a depressing effect. It teaches the 
transitoriness and mutability of this world and of 
all human things. No personal God smiles on his 
worshippers or listens to their prayers. This life is 
an evil in itself, a period to be spent in the acquisi- 
tion of merit, in preparation for the ascent to a 
higher plane. The goal of every man's striving is 
the blessed rest of Nirvana (Neikban), a state, not 
of annihilation, but of rest for many ages from 
passion and all transitory disturbance. For even 
the rest of Nirvana is not eternal. After many 
seons, it may be, the unceasing round begins again. 
The practical effect of this austere creed is quite 
different. Nowhere is there a more gay and light- 



196 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

hearted people. To balance the days and months of 
abstinence, religious festivals are of frequent occur- 
rence. Then the roads are crowded with cart-loads 
of merry holiday-makers. Pagoda platforms are 
filled with bright-clad, laughing throngs. Pwfes and 
all national sports are celebrated. On every side are 
gaiety and good-humour, the basis of religion under- 
lying all. It is not for me to attempt to explain 
these apparent inconsistencies. 

The people in general soon made up their minds 
that there was no intention of interfering with their 
religion. And, in spite of isolated instances, the 
monks accepted the new order with resignation, if 
not with enthusiasm. The tolerant spirit of Bud- 
dhism pervades all classes. Strangers wander un- 
molested and without meeting scowling looks in the 
precincts of pagodas and holy places ; they are 
welcome to explore the recesses of monasteries, 
observing only common politeness and decorum. 
You are not expected to take off your shoes on 
reaching the sacred limits of a pagoda or monastery. 
Ordinary courtesy doubtless impels you to remove 
your hat in a sacred building. It is not really 
correct to walk across the sleeping mat of a Sadaw,* 
as I saw done by a lady who should have known 
better. The Sadaw only laughed, recognizing that 
no offence was meant. 

Pagodas and sacred images arc left to the care of 
the people themselves, tempered by the benevolent 
patronage of the Archaeological Survey. In too 

* A monk of high position. 



A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 197 

many cases these buildings and objects are left to 
the process of natural decay. It seems to be some- 
what more meritorious to build a new shrine than 
to keep in repair an existing fabric. Probably the 
builder of a new pagoda, for instance, earns all the 
merit for himself, while a restorer shares it with the 
original founder. In the case of edifices of special 
sanctity or conspicuous antiquarian or architectural 
interest, arrangements have been made, at the in- 
stigation of Government, to vest the property and 
management in legally appointed trustees. The 
care and maintenance of sacred buildings and the 
due appropriation of pious offerings are thus assured. 
Not only for the Shwe Dagon Pagoda and the Arakan 
Pagoda at Rangoon and Mandalay respectively, but 
for many shrines of less fame, trustees have been 
appointed. This is the best way of securing the 
preservation of religious buildings of inestimable 
interest. 

One of the most striking personalities in modern 
Burmese Buddhism is the Ledi Sadaw. This re- 
markable man devoted some years of his life to 
travelling through the country preaching and ex- 
horting. His passionate eloquence drew immense 
congregations. Wherever he went he was greeted 
by enraptured throngs. Men and women vied in 
adoration of this saintly personage, women loosing 
their hair and spreading it as a carpet for his holy 
feet. His fervour and fiery zeal effected real 
revivals, whether lasting or transitory I dare not 
say. Besides addressing public assemblies, he 
obtained leave to enter jails and preach reformation 



198 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

to the prisoners, apparently with good results.* In 
spite of the extraordinary enthusiasm which he 
inspired and the honours thrust upon him in his 
triumphal progress, he preserved unstained and 
flawless, simplicity and humility of character. We 
are not wont to regard with favour errant monks 
preaching here and there. Too often their exhorta- 
tions have tended to sedition, their liberty has been 
a cloak for licence. Never for a moment did the 
Ledi Sadaw faU under a shadow of suspicion as to 
the purity of his motives and conduct, or the good 
intention of his pilgrimage. The ethical part of his 
sermons consisted of fervent denunciations of in- 
temperance, drinking, gambling, opium-smoking, the 
pleasant vices most devastating among Burmans. 
In no way inspired by any Government officer, he 
did not hold aloof from the authorities, but desired 
to be on good terms with them. Speaking to 
Colonel Maxwell, f who more than most of us won 
the intimate confidence of Burmans, in all simplicity 
he said : 

" I am not sure that Government will approve my 
preaching. There will be much loss of revenue ; for 
when I have finished, all liquor and opium shops will 
be closed for want of custom." 

With a clear conscience the Commissioner bade 
him go on and prosper, assuring him that Govern- 
ment would be well pleased if so desirable a result 

* This excellent example has, I am glad to say, been followed. 
Several gaols are regularly visited by monks, who exhort 
prisoners to repentance and a new life. 

t Then Commissioner of the Irrawaddy Division. 



A FEW WORDS ON BUDDHISM 199 

could be attained. The promised millennium has not 
yet arrived. While heartily approving the Sadaw, 
we did not think it expedient to make our approval 
conspicuous, lest plausibly, though falsely, the sug- 
gestion might be made that he was an agent of the 
Asoya.* A travelling set of the Buddhist scriptures 
was the only mark of Government's appreciation. I 
had the privilege of one interview with this extra- 
ordinary man. What chiefly impressed me was his 
weary expression, as though the working of the fiery 
spirit had worn out the frail tenement of the body. 
I am glad to hear that the Sadaw still lives, and 
that his preaching days are not over. 

One of the last incidents of my residence in 
Burma may fitly conclude this discursive chapter. 
Early in 1910 we were privileged to receive what 
are believed to be genuine relics of the Buddha. 
They were discovered by the Archaeological Survey 
near Peshawar. ' Their authenticity has, I believe, 
been doubted. I hope I am not, to use the happy 
phrase of an Irish friend, more prone than most men 
to swallow mares'-nests. But to me the evidence of 
the genuine character of the relics seems reasonably 
convincing. It was my fortunate lot to be instru- 
mental in securing the despatch of these precious 
remains to Burma, where alone, as I have said, the 
pure spirit of Buddhism still reigns ; and to be present 
when, with due solemnity, at Government House in 
Calcutta, the Viceroy graciously entrusted the 
casket and its priceless contents to a deputation sent 
from Burma to receive them. The relics were 
* Government. 



200 A CIYIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

welcomed in Rangoon with demonstrations of pious 
enthusiasm, and brought by a long procession to the 
Shwe Dag6n Pagoda, where, for some days, they 
were exhibited for the edification of the faithful. 
Thence they were taken to Mandalay and placed in 
the care of the elders of the Arakan Pagoda till a 
separate suitable shrine can be erected in custody 
of a duly constituted trust. 




A MONASTKRY. 



CHAPTER XII 

UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE, 1887-1890 

Mb. C. H. T. Crosthwaite, soon afterwards Sir 
Charles Crosthwaite, K.C.S.I., succeeded Sir Charles 
Bernard. He came enjoying the confidence of the 
Viceroy, and in just expectation of the support of 
the Government of India. Taking in hand at once 
the settlement of the country, in the next four years 
he devoted his remarkable administrative genius to 
the completion of the task. I cannot becomingly 
express in full my humble appreciation and admira- 
tion of Sir Charles Crosthwaite and the great work 
which he accomplished in Burma. I hope it is not 
presumptuous of me to say that as an administrator 
he ranks in the very highest class of Indian States- 
men, and is at this moment by far the most dis- 
tinguished member of our Service. Never sparing 
himself, in those eventful years he initiated, guided, 
directed, controlled. In his officers he inspired 
enthusiasm ; we would have fallen in harness to 
serve him or win his approval. We were always 
sure of strong and efficient support, and had no fear, 
if things went wrong, of being thrown to the dogs. 
Sir Charles Crosthwaite came to a land still torn by 

201 



202 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

internal strife ; he left it a peaceful and prosperous 
Province. I speak of what I know, for from first to 
last it was my privilege to work immediately under 
him, to see the pulse of the machine. Let those 
who wish to understand turn to the book* wherein 
the story of the pacification is modestly told by the 
chief actor in the drama. 

Early in March, 1887, the Chief Commissioner 
came to Mandalay, retaining for a short time the 
separate Secretariat for Upper Burma. Wisely dis- 
trusting the sanitary conditions of the palace, he 
took up his quarters in a small house built on the 
city wall, intended as the residence of a military 
police officer. It consisted of two or three rooms 
under one of the pyathats.f On the first evening 
after the Chief Commissioner's arrival we waited 
some time for dinner, as the roof of the cook-room 
was blown ofi* by a sudden gale. Since those days 
the building has expanded, and has become a re- 
spectable Government House. Thanks to the good 
taste of the Chief Engineer, Mr. H. J. Richard, 
Burmese style has been preserved. The pyathat is 
the centre of a range of buildings which might be a 
monastery or a section of the Palace. Thus the 
house is a picturesque feature in the landscape, not 
an outrage. With the moat and a stretch of green 
lawn on one side, and pretty gardens on the other, 
commanding a fine view of Mandalay Hill and the 
rugged western hillocks, it has every aesthetic 

* " The Pacification of Burma;' by Sir Charles Crosthwaite. 
(Arnold, 1912.) 

t Terraced spires over the gates. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 203 

quality. It may be whispered that it is more beau- 
tiful to see than comfortable to inhabit. 

Sir Charles Crosthwaite's first tour was under- 
taken for the purpose of visiting the Ruby Mines 
district, then recently occupied. A military station 
had been established on a lofty, somewhat bleak 
plateau, and honoured with the name of BernardmJ^o. 
The civil headquarters were at Mogok, the centre of 
the ruby mines. Reaching Kyan-hn^at by steamer, 
we rode to Sagadaung, at the foot of the hills, 
breakfasting midway with Mr. R. C. Stevenson,* 
the subdivisional ofl&cer. The Chief Commissioner's 
party consisted of the Personal Assistant f and myself 
At Sadagaung it was found that all the servants, 
panic-stricken at the thought of plunging into savage 
wilds, had refused to leave the steamer. The kit 
and stores had come on, but the only servants with 
us were my Madrasi boy and a few chapr^sis.| The 
Personal Assistant was equal to the occasion. He 
invited all the officers of the Station to dine with 
the Chief Commissioner, from whom the state of 
affairs was concealed. " And," said he, " as our men 
are rather tired, will you let your cooks help to get 
dinner ready ?" These assistants he supplied with 
stores and necessaries, and dinner was successfully 
achieved. Next morning we rode up the hill to 
Bernardmyo, where we were kindly made honorary 
members of the mess and lodged as handsomely as 

* See p. 106. 

t I need not mention this sportsman's name. It was neither 
Andrew Thomson nor Jem Bernard. 

I Messengers. 



204 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BURMA 

Service conditions allowed. I slept in a commissariat 
godown,* with the wind, cold even in April, whistling 
through the openings in the boarded floor. After a 
day or two we rode on to Mog6k, through lovely- 
evergreen forest which still shades the bridle-path. 
There we were guests of the Deputy Commissioner, 
the late Mr. G. M. S. Carter, who cherished us till 
we reached the river and our steamer once more. 
Never, I ween, not even in the Spartan days of Sir 
Arthur Phayre, did a Chief Commissioner make an 
official tour in his Province with only a third of 
a boy and a stray chaprksi or two as bearer, f 
khitmagar,J and cook. 

The Ruby Mines Company was still in embryo, 
but the syndicate out of which it was evolved had 
established a footing, and Mr. F. Atlay, who still 
manages its affairs, was already installed. The 
quest for rubies was prosecuted by the hereditary 
miners, who worked by primitive native methods. 
In the King's time rubies were, naturally, a royal 
monopoly, and any stone of exceptional value was 
a royal perquisite. The most illustrious stone on 
record was called,' after its finder, Chin Nga Mauk. 
The lucky man himself took it to the Palace, and 
was privileged to lay it at the King's feet. As a 
reward he was allowed to take away a cart-load of 
whatever he liked from the Palace. The legend of 
the discovery of the mines may be told. Passing 
through a desolate, unpeopled land, a wayfarer saw 
a vulture swoop from a solitary rock and pick up a 
piece of, as it seemed to wayfarer and apparently 
* Store-room. f Valet. t Table-servant. 



UNDER Sm CHAELES CEOSTHWAITE 205 

to vulture, raw red flesh. Surprised at such a 
phenomenon in a waste place, the traveller investi- 
gated, and found the earth strewn with lovely 
glittering red stones, thenceforth known as the 
rubies of commerce. The truth of the story is 
proved by the existence to this day of the rock on 
which the vulture perched. Times have changed, 
and rubies are no longer picked up on the surface. 
Nor are they found embedded in the stone walls of 
Aladdin's caves. They are extracted by washing 
from ruby-bearing earth (bj^&n), which is borne in 
trucks to the Company's washing sheds. Each truck 
contains, I suppose, about twelve cubic feet of earth ; 
the average value is about one shilling. But any 
load may produce a stone worth a King's ransom. 
Besides the scientific operations of the company, 
mining by native methods is still practised. The 
rights of hereditary miners are preserved. They 
pursue the quest after the manner of their fathers, 
on payment of a moderate licence-fee. The very 
poor, mostly women, may glean in the beds of 
streams without any restriction. Ruby-mining was 
a profitable business, with a pleasing element of 
chance. Some lucky miners amassed large fortunes. 
Even the common people were affluent. The smallest 
coin current in the bazaar was a silver two-anna 
(2d.) piece. Coppers were unknown. In later days 
the Chief Commissioner or Lieutenant-Governor's 
receptions at Mog6k were ceremonies of much 
splendour. Followed by scores of mounted men 
who came to meet him, he rode through the town 
under triumphal arches gleaming with silken 



206 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

banners, past lines of cheering spectators, groups 
of dancers, and cymbal-clashing musickers, while 
pretty, shy Shan girls peeped from the casements. 
An incident of one of these visits, though it has 
nothing to do with rubies or ceremonious receptions, 
may be recorded by way of comic relief. The scene 
was the parade-ground ; the occasion, an inspection 
of the MUitary Police Battalion ; the time, the end 
of summer. The ground was wet and slippery from 
an early unexpected shower. After the accustomed 
evolutions, the Commandant, an exceptionally smart, 
weU-turned-out officer, came galloping up to the 
Lieutenant-Governor, and as he essayed to pull up 
within a yard of that august personage his pony 
slipped and deposited him in the mud at his feet. 
Nowise abashed, he rose, gravely saluted : " Would 
you like to see anything else, sir ?" " No, thank 
you," was the equally grave reply. And the in- 
cident closed, to their credit, be it told, not one of 
the staff moving a muscle. As the story goes, they 
waited to laugh till they got home. 

On our return from the first visit, our baggage 
borne on mules, we rode to Thabeik-kyin along a 
mule-track following approximately the line of the 
present road. The narrow path wound through and 
about the hills, often with a yawning precipice on 
one hand, a wall of rock on the other. But that the 
road is broad and smooth, in many respects it 
resembles the old path. Ponies have still a horrid 
habit of hugging the cliff's edge, and one rides with 
a leg suspended over the abyss. To meet a train of 
pack-bullocks charging down the pass is a trying 



UNDER SIR CHARLES OROSTHWAITE 207 

experience. So, too, is the ascent in a motor-car 
with a driver learning his work. Green forest 
covers the hillsides and luxuriates in the valleys, 
brilliant with many-coloured blooms. The cicala 
fills the open spaces with sound, so great a noise by 
so small a body. It was then all new and full of 
interest. The beauty of the landscape charmed 
every step of the march. Our guide was a hand- 
some ruffian, Bo Aw, as picturesque as the scene, 
who rode ahead in Shan dress, his flapping straw 
hat decked with gay streamers. Afterwards he 
returned to the life of a dacoit, and, I fear, came to 
a bad end. 

Soon after this, the Mandalay Secretariat ceased 
to exist as a separate branch, one Secretariat, with a 
Chief Secretary, Secretary, Junior Secretary, and 
Assistant Secretary, being constituted in Rangoon 
for the whole Province. Mr. Symes became Chief 
Secretary, but, worn out by many labours, went on 
leave, Mr. Donald Smeaton* coming from India to 
act for him. I became Secretary, and Mr. C. G. 
Bayne, Junior Secretary. The anomalous post of 
Special Commissioner was abolished, Mr. Hodgkin- 
son going to Moulmein as Commissioner. Mr. 
Smeaton was not new to the Province. Some years 
before he had come to Burma to fill the newly 
created office of Revenue Secretary and Director of 
Agriculture. In that capacity he had devised and 
organized the Supplementary Survey system, after- 
wards called the Land Records Department. This 

* The late Mr. D. M. Smeaton, C.S.I., for some years M.P. 
for Stirlingshire. 



208 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

was, I believe, an entirely original scheme, of which 
the design was to keep land records and maps up to 
date, year by year, so as to obviate the labour of 
re- survey whenever a Settlement had to be revised. 
In theory the plan was admirable ; its practical 
success has not been perfect, partly, I think, because 
the establishment was inadequate. Mr. Smeaton 
also organized and set to work the first regular 
Settlement Parties in Burma. From 1887 onwards 
he served as Chief Secretary, Commissioner, and 
Financial Commissioner, failing, however, in the end 
to attain the high office for which his rare abilities 
seemed to designate him. The Chief Secretary took 
over the political department, and for a time my 
association with the most interesting part of the 
administration was severed. I had plenty to do in 
my own branches. 

The Secretary was in charge of State prisoners, a 
few of whom, members of the late reigning family of 
Delhi, still survived. The ex-King, Bahadur Shah, 
who had been tried and sentenced to death for his 
share in the massacre of English men and women, 
had been spared the extreme penalty and sent to 
Rangoon, where he died in exile. His widow, the 
Begam Zinath Mahal, was in Rangoon in my charge. 
She and her daughter-in-law were of such exalted 
rank that they were not parda-nashin * to English 
officers. More than once I saw the old Begam who, 
thirty years before, had played so lurid a part in 
the Mutiny. Though now of advanced age, she 
retained traces of great beauty and was specially 
* Hidden by the curtain. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 209 

proud of her finely shaped, dehcate hands. Her 
beauty was of the Pit, aquiline, dark, menacing. 
Her son, Prince Jawdn Bakht (P. J. Bakht, as he 
used quaintly to style himself on his visiting cards), 
the direct representative of the Moguls, lived in 
Rangoon with his wife, Shah Zamani Begam, of the 
race of Nadir Shah, the Persian Conqueror. Jawdn 
Bakht was not of specially marked character, 
amiable and harmless. His wife was a lady of 
charm and dignity, worthy of her lofty lineage. In 
her youth beautiful exceedingly, time had but little 
marred that lovely face. Poor lady, she was totally 
blind, but the disease which had darkened her sight 
left no disfigurement and hardly dimmed the lustre 
of her radiant eyes. She spoke the purest Urdu, in 
liquid tones sweeter than any I have ever heard in 
that graceful tongue. Beyond words pathetic it 
was to see and converse with this lady of a great 
family, keeping to the last the pride of her race and 
station, with every mark of a gentle and gracious 
disposition, reduced to comparative poverty, and 
sharing without a murmur the hard lot of the last 
scion of a fallen dynasty. Jawd,n Bakht and Shah 
Zamani Begam have long been gathered to their 
fathers. Their son and daughter, Mirza Jamshid 
Bakht and Ronak Begam, last of the line of Babar 
and Akbar and Aurangzib, still live in Rangoon in 
receipt of miserable stipends. It is true that the 
decadent Moguls did not deserve well at our hands. 
Bahadur Shah and Zinath Mahal were treated even 
more leniently than they merited. But their sur- 
viving descendants are innocent of complicity in 

14 



210 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUEMA 

their crimes. PolitiG^illy, they have never given 
the slightest trouble ; Mohammedans seem hardly 
aware of their existence. Somewhat more generous 
treatment might be accorded them. Their pensions 
might be made sufficient to enable them to live in 
reasonable comfort. 

Another interesting State pensioner, not a 
prisoner, was Prince Hassan, adopted son of Sultan 
Suleiman, leader of the Panthay* rebellion in 
Yunnan. When, finally overthrown, Suleiman died 
by his own hand to avoid capture, Hassan luckily 
was in Eangoon. There he stayed for the rest of 
his life, in receipt of an allowance from the Indian 
Government. Precisely on what grounds the grant 
to Hassan of a pension from Indian revenues was 
justified, I have never clearly understood. But all 
who knew him must be glad that any technical 
difficulties were overcome. Most charming and 
courteous of men, Hassan was in some respects the 
most attractive of the native notables of my ac- 
quaintance. He spent his time quietly in study, 
occasionally paying the Secretary a friendly visit. 
Eonak Begam became his wife. Some years later, 
after many wanderings and much tribulation, the 
Panthay wife of his youth, whom he had believed 
to be dead, appeared and resumed her natural 
position in his house. Eonak Begam, who could 
hardly be expected to take the second place, re- 
turned to her family. Hassan died some years ago. 
There are a good many Panthays in Upper Burma, 
principally in Mandalay, Bhamo, Mog6k, and the 
* Panthays are Chinese Mohammedans of Yunnan. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 211 

Shan States, sturdy men of stalwart stature and 
agreeable manners, assiduous traders, and good 
citizens. With several I was on friendly terms. 
My best friend among them one day brought his 
very aged and wrinkled mother to see me and bade 
her shake hands. The old dame obeyed, but pudi- 
cally covered her hand with a kerchief before 
clasping mine. 

For a few months in 1888 I acted as Commissioner 
of the Northern Division, the second officer to hold 
that appointment. Including the royal city, the 
Katha district on the borders of Wuntho, the Ruby 
Mines, the Kachin Hills, the China frontier, the 
division has always seemed the most interesting in 
the Province. To me who had been associated with 
Mandalay from the beginning, the position was 
specially attractive. The place was full of my 
Burmese friends by whom I was cordially welcomed. 
The appointment was temporary, though at first 
this was not the Chief Commissioner's intention. 
As a somewhat maladroit acquaintance, meeting me 
at the club on my arrival, frankly said : "Of course, 
you will be here only till a senior man can be sent." 
It was true, but he need not have rubbed it in. 

Unlike most other officers. Commissioners draw a 
fixed monthly travelling allowance. It is therefore 
a point of honour with them to spend a good deal of 
time away from headquarters. In the Northern 
Division the cost of travelling was high, and the 
monthly allowance was never a source of profit. An 
early tour brought me to Bhamo, after being nearly 
swamped by a sudden squall. Signs of violence 



212 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

were still common. The Captain of the steamer 
assured me that quite lately he had seen corpses 
floating down the river "dreadfully emancipated." 
At Bhamo I was shocked to find that the day before 
my arrival Bo Ti, one of the rebel leaders of Mogaung, 
had escaped from the primitive wooden jail. He 
was never recaptured. With him went a young 
Indian who was under trial for attempting to murder 
the Colonel of a native regiment. The Colonel I 
found convalescent. He was a hard man, and sepoys 
had often threatened to shoot him. As he was 
shaving one morning he felt a shock, and knew that 
he was wounded. Thinking that the threat had 
been carried out, the stout old man said to himself, 
" They shan't know they have hit me," and went on 
shaving. It was really his own servant, who from 
behind had slashed him with a sword. Owing to 
the Colonel's grim determination not to let the sepoy 
know that he had scored, his assailant got in another 
blow. This is the story as I heard it. The Colonel, 
a bulky, muscular man, recovered from wounds 
which would probably have killed one of slighter 
build. It was doubtless by the agency of this young 
Indian that the guard of the jail was corrupted and 
the prisoner's escape facilitated. He, too, made his 
way to the Kachin country, and was never caught. 
Vague rumours of his presence in the frontier fights 
of the next few years were current. I hope he did 
not have a very good time in the hills. 

A story of Bhamo of later years may be told here. 
A military police sepoy ran " amuck," as they say. 
Armed with a rifle and well supplied with ammuni- 



UNDER Sm CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 213 

tion, he took possession of a masonry house, and 
from a casement amused himself by shooting at 
anyone who came in sight. The house was duly 
surrounded by police, and the Deputy Commissioner 
and District Superintendent came down. It did not 
occur to them to summon infantry and guns from 
the neighbouring fort, or to fire volleys at the brick 
walls. The Superintendent, Mr. H. F. Hertz,* 
obtained a rough description of the interior of the 
house, and entered it from next door. Groping in 
the semi-darkness characteristic of native houses, he 
made his way to the room next to that held by the 
sepoy. Hearing a sound, the sepoy half-opened the 
door and thrust out his rifle. Pushing the rifle 
aside with one hand, Mr. Hertz shot the man dead 
with his revolver, receiving a slight wound in the 
encounter. This is the way these things are managed 
in Burma. 

Bhamo was then the headquarters of the district 
which included the country bordering on China and 
Tibet, all the present Myitkyina district, Mogaung, 
and the Jade Mines. The column under Major 
C. H. E. Adamson, which visited Mogaung and the 
Jade Mines, had just returned, having secured the 
submission of Kansi La and Kansi Naung, the 
Kachin chiefs of the Jade Mines tract, f Soon after- 
wards occurred the assault on Mogaung, gallantly 
repulsed by Gurkha military police under Captain 
Hugh O'DonnellJ and Mr. Lawrence Eliott. Close 

♦ Mr. H. F. Hertz, CLE. 

i Cf. " The Pacification of Burma," p. 239 et seq. 

I Brigadier-General Hugh O'Donnell, C.B., D.S.O. 



214 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

to China, from which it is separated by a range of 
hills, Bhamo is filled by a strange variety of races. 
Chinese, stalwart traders of Yunnan ; Panthays, sur- 
vivors of the great rebellion ; Shans, Shan-Chinese, 
Shan-Burmans, Kachins of many divers tribes, give 
life and colour and speak a Babel of tongues in the 
bazaar. Driving along one of the roads leading out 
of the town, the traveller is impressed by a sign-post 
bearing the legend — 

To China. 

Not many miles away the peaks of the Kachin Hills 
rise in the eastern sky. Across these hills come 
caravans* from T'^ngyiieh (Momien) and Man- 
waing, in those days paying toll to the Kachins for 
leave to pass. Through these hills marched the ill- 
fated Margary before he attempted his fatal return 
journey. Through them in later days, with happier 
omens, walked Dr. Morrison at the end of his 
adventurous pilgrimage. A few miles below the 
town of Bhamo the Irrawaddy runs through a 
narrow, rock-bound gorge known as the Second 
Defile. Conspicuous on the right bank looms the 
tall Elephant Rock, crowned by a small golden 
pagoda. I have had the rare experience of passing 
through the defile by the light of the full moon. 
The silver light on the towering crags, the silence 
and the solitude, created an effect full of mystery 

* A curious sight often to be seen outside of Bhamo was a 
drove of pigs brought from China, each pig at night picketed 
to a small peg. Hard by baskets of walnuts deluded the 
stuanger into the belief that the pigs, like pack-bullocks, were 
made to carry the baskets. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 215 

and charm. Emerging from the defile, we reach the 
town of Shwegu, whence, gazing on the sunset 
painting with gorgeous colours the western hills, 
one realizes "the incomparable pomp of eve." Above 
Bhamo the river pierces a still more gloomy, pre- 
cipitous, whirlpool-haunted gorge, the First Defile. 
In the dry months, from November to April, this 
defile is navigable by launches, and with reasonable 
care the passage can be made without risk. In the 
rains it is closed to all traffic except that of country 
boats and timber rafts. Once, long ago, two gallant 
officers came through in a launch as late as May. 
They had no wish to repeat the experiment. When 
in full flood, to traverse the defile even in a boat is 
an adventure requiring nerve and skill. On the 
upward course the boat is towed laboriously for 
many weary days. If the rope slips, the work of 
days may be lost in a few minutes. Down-stream 
the journey is far more rapid and even more 
hazardous. I do not think any British officer has 
been drowned in the defile, but several of my friends 
have lost their baggage. At least one launch lies in 
its fathomless depths. At any time the passage 
through the defile is full of interest and excitement. 
Nothing can surpass the wild beauty of its winding, 
rock-bound course. Here, in mid-strea.m, a sharp 
boulder has to be shunned ; there careful steering is 
needed lest the vessel be spun round in a whirlpool ; 
now we seem to be driving straight against a wall 
of stone. To leave Burma without traversing the 
First Defile is to miss one of the sights of the 
world. 



216 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUKMA 

Another tour led me across the Shwebo district, 
then in the Northern Division, where my old friend 
Mr. B. K. S. MacDermott was in charge. The 
township officer was Maung Tun, K.S.M., after- 
wards Extra Assistant Commissioner, a local officer 
of remarkable ability and of proved courage and 
loyalty. His father, Bo Pyin, had been Wun of 
Shwebo, and had retired at an advanced age. He 
is the man already mentioned who shocked his pious 
serious-minded son by retaining his passion for the 
chase. 

Here is the city of Alaungpaya ; here Mind6n 
Min raised the standard of revolt against his 
brother. Shwebo was always a turbulent dis- 
trict, the seed-bed of sedition ; it retained that 
character long after the annexation. At this time 
it was fairly quiet ; we rode through it with a 
moderate escort. As we left the town we saw 
approaching a long line of Burmans, in carts and 
on foot, men, women, and children. " All these 
people," said the Deputy Commissioner with pride, 
" are coming in to my new bazaar." On inquiry, 
we ascertained that they were really all coming in 
to be vaccinated. This is an example of the good 
sense and lack of prejudice so often found among 
Burmans. Years before, the people of Pantanaw 
had begged for a vaccinator. If proper feicilities 
were provided, the whole population of Burma could 
be vaccinated without recourse to compulsion. 
Only the inefficiency and corruption of an under- 
paid staff and the untrustworthy quality of the 
lymph have retarded this desirable consummation. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 217 

I am glad to say that these defects have now been, 
or are in process of being, remedied. 

From Shwebo we crossed the Katha district and 
came to Kawlin on the verge of the Shan State of 
Wuntho.* This State, inconveniently situated in 
the midst of regularly administered districts, was 
left under its native chief tiU the year 1891. 
Shortly before the annexation the Sawbwa, a 
capable truculent man, had been transferred as 
Wun to Mogaung for the purpose of suppressing a 
Kachin rising. He accomplished the task with 
devastating completeness. In Wuntho he was suc- 
ceeded by his son, a timid creature quite unlike the 
savage swashbuckler who begot him. Vain efforts 
had been made to induce the young chief to meet 
our officers, Mr. Burgess himself and the Kinwun 
Mingyi having visited Wuntho for the purpose 
without success. Once the Sawbwa did meet 
Mr. E. P. Cloney, Extra Assistant Commissioner. 
The issue was unfortunate. At the conference, 
owing to a misunderstanding, a tumult arose and 
the Shan retainers drew their swords. Mr. Cloney 's 
life would have been sacrificed but for the presence 
of mind of the Sawbwa, who clasped him in his arms 
and shielded him from attack. This is the solitary 
occasion on which the Sawbwa showed any sign of 
courage or resolution. Only once again he met a 
British officer, Mr. H. F. P. Hall,t afterwards 

* The station of that name on the Myitkyina line used 
perversely to be called by railway engineers "One-two." 

t Mr. Fielding-Hall, the accomplished author of " The Soul 
of a People." 



218 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Assistant Commissioner. Though I went to Wun- 
tho with only half a dozen sowars, the Sawbwa 
declined the meeting and bolted to his remote 
fortress at Pinlebu. When, owing to the survey of 
the projected railway-line, the long-existing tension 
became acute, the Sawbwa, after wantonly attack- 
ing the adjacent districts, fled with his father to 
China. The old man is dead. The son survives in 
exile in Yunnan, having long ceased to be an object 
of apprehension or of interest to the Burma Govern- 
ment. The State of Wuntho is merged in the 
Katha district. 

From August, 1888, till the end of 1890, I acted 
as Chief Secretary, Mr. C. G. Bayne being Secretary, 
and in succession Mr. A. S. Fleming, Mr. F. C. 
Gates,* and Mr. D. H. R. Twomey,t Junior (or 
Under) Secretary. These were years of abnormal 
stress in the office, which was still undermanned. 
The appointment of Mr. Fryer to be Financial Com- 
missioner afforded us some relief But though a 
good deal of his work was done in direct com- 
munication with the Chief Commissioner, part of 
the revenue business necessarily was transacted by 
the Secretariat. These were my really strenuous 
years. The practice of dictation to shorthand 
writers was not yet in vogue ; I have never acquired 
the habit. Day after day, Sundays included, I did 
my spell of work in office and then wrote on far 
into the night at home, kept awake by coffee and 

* Sir Frank Campbell Gates, K.C.I.E., C.S.I., Financial Com- 
missioner of Burma. 

t Now a Judge of the Chief Court. 



UNDER Sm CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 219 

protected from mosquitoes by Burman cheroots. 
Six hours of sleep sufficed. Though I wrote rapidly, 
I was not a quick worker. I dare say other men 
would have done as much with less effort. Life in 
the Secretariat presented few incidents which seem 
worthy of record. The real work was being done 
in the districts, in the Shan States, in the Chin 
Hills. 

These years witnessed the completion of the 
pacification and settlement of Upper Burma, and 
what may be called the resettlement of Lower 
Burma. The details of the work in Upper Burma 
have been described in Sir Charles Crosthwaite's 
book.* The organization of the military and civil 
police was perfected by the administrative ability of 
General Stedman, the Inspector- General, who was a 
tower of strength to the Government. Dacoit bands 
were dispersed, their leaders captured or killed, the 
rank and file in many cases allowed to surrender and 
return to their homes on suitable terms. Admirable, 
unobtrusive work was done by military, civil, and 
police officers, who by degrees bore down opposition 
and broke the forces of disorder. The most potent 
instrument in the final establishment of settled ad- 
ministration was the village law planned by Sir 
Charles Crosthwaite himself. This invaluable enact- 
ment created the village as the unit of administra- 
tion, and placed the village headman in a position of 
authority and responsibility. He became the local 
judge and magistrate, with limited but sufficient 
power to enforce his orders. As far as possible the 
* "The Pacification of Burma," 



220 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

office was made hereditary, but the people were con- 
sulted in the appointment. Henceforth the post, 
though not one of great emolument, instead of being 
avoided, was eagerly sought.* The village law did 
much more than elevate the headman. It enforced 
the joint responsibility of villagers for offences com- 
mitted within their borders, for stolen property 
traced to the village tract. The Deputy Commis- 
sioner was legally empowered to require villages to 
be duly fenced. All able-bodied men were bound 
under penalties to turn out to resist any unlawful 
attack. Above all, subject to carefully devised safe- 
guards, power was given to the local authorities 
to order the temporary removal of persons found to 
be in sympathy with outlaws. No measure was 
more efficacious than this to secure the destruction 
of dacoit gangs by depriving them of support and 
sustenance. These are among the most important 
provisions of the village law which has done more 
than gun and sword to assure permanent peace. 
The revenue system was formalized as far as our 
limited knowledge allowed on the lines of Burmese 
law and custom. Meanwhile, the border lands were 
not neglected. Of the Shan States some mention 
will be made presently. The Chins might have 
lived unmolested in their hills, but they could not 
give up their rooted habit of raiding villages in the 
plains. The plundering of peaceful hamlets, the carry- 
ing off of living captives and the heads of the slain, 

* It remained for the ingenuity of the Courts in later years 
to discover that in the eye of the law the headman was not a 
respectable inhabitant. 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 221 

provoked inevitable reprisals. Happily the policy 
of slaying, burning, and scuttling was not adopted. 
After laborious operations, the Chins were thoroughly 
subjugated and disarmed. Military police posts 
were established in their midst. They are now 
peaceful and amenable to law. The names honour- 
ably associated with the arduous task of settling 
these rugged hills are those of Major F. D. Raikes, 
C.I.E., General Sir W. Penn Symons, Mr. B. S. 
Carey, C.I.E., Mr. D. Ross, Mr. D. J. C. Macnabb,* 
Captain F. M. Rundall.f Mr. E. 0. Fowler, and 
Mr. H. N. Tuck, Here, too, Captain Le QuesneJ 
won the Victoria Cross by gallantly tending a 
wounded officer under fire from a stockade. The 
Kachin Hills and the State of Wuntho alone re- 
mained for settlement in later years. 

No detailed story of the restoration of order in 
Lower Burma has yet been given to the world ; nor 
does it lie within the scheme of these personal 
reminiscences to supply the omission. The outbreak 
of disturbance at the end of 1885 has already been 
mentioned. For years crime continued to be ram- 
pant. A few figures may be given. In 1886 the 
number of dacoities was 2,183 ; in 1887, 1,387 ; in 
1888, 695 ; in 1889, 332 ; in 1890, 181. Serious 
risings there were : one in Tavoy in 1888, quelled 
by Colonel Adamson and Mr. Twomey ; one in 
Sandaway, sternly repressed by Mr. Bernard 

* Lieutenant-Colonel D, J. C. Macnabb, C.S.I., Commissioner 
of the Minbu division. 

t Colonel F. M. Rundall, C.B., D.S.O. 

I Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. Le Quesne, V.C, R.A.M.C. 



222 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Houghton, who at the outset nearly fell a victim 
to the insurgents. But in the period now under 
reference it was not so much a question of dealing, 
as in. Upper Burma, with organized resistance on a 
large scale as of suppressing countless small, isolated 
gangs. The strict enforcement of the Village Act, 
framed on the lines indicated above, and vigorous 
disarmament carried out in the face of ignorant and 
factious criticism, were among the most eflficient 
means of restoring peace. The plan of placing a 
defined area in charge of a specially selected officer 
invested with large powers for the suppression of 
crime was tried with excellent effect. Pyuntazd, in 
Shwegyin, was reduced to order by Mr. Todd-Naylor, 
to whom the Chief Commissioner gave a free hand 
with abundant support. Boldest, most strenuous, 
most untiring of men, traversing vast distances with 
incredible speed on the scantiest fare, facing every 
danger and enduring every hardship, there, and 
soon afterwards in Tharrawaddy, Mr. Todd-Naylor 
earned great and well-merited renown. For the 
first, and so far the only, time in its history, 
Tharrawaddy was at rest. In every district solid 
work was done, and by degrees normal conditions 
were established. 

An event which I recall with interest was the 
visit to Rangoon of the celebrated traveller, Mr. 
Colborne Baber, of the China Consular Service, 
deputed to Burma in connection with the proposed 
demarcation of the Chinese boundary. Baber was 
one of the elect of travellers. Not only did he make 
hazardous and scientifically important journeys, but 



UNDER SIR CHARLES CROSTHWAITE 223 

he also had the gift of letters, so that his records 
have a place in literature. A man of genius, a born 
explorer, of various and versatile accomplishments, 
he was, I believe, a sinologist of distinction, and 
certainly a scholar of no mean attainment. Before 
proceeding to Bhamo to study the boundary ques- 
tion on the spot, he was our guest for some days in 
Rangoon. These are days of happy memory, made 
bright by his luminous and inspiring talk, his distin- 
guished and attractive personality. He seemed to 
live principally on cigarettes, and cared too little 
for a body not physically strong. Early in 1890 he 
died at Bhamo, mainly from weakness caused by his 
own neglect of material comfort. His premature 
death was a loss to the State, and a lasting grief to 
his friends. 

More than once in these two years I visited 
Mandalay in attendance on the Chief Commissioner, 
sometimes occupying my old quarters in the Palace, 
sometimes enjoying the hospitality of Government 
House. One trivial incident illustrates the state of 
the country even close to the capital of Upper 
Burma. Rather late one night a friend* called me 
out of my quarters to go to see a fire. Having seen 
as many fires as would satisfy the most morbid 
craving, I cannot think why this fire attracted me. 
However, we went. As usual, the scene was much 
farther off than we thought. Passing out of the 
city gate, we walked for some miles across the fields 
till we came at last to a village where houses were 
still blazing. It had been plundered and burnt by 
* Mr. E. S. Carr, now Conservator of Forests. 



224 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

Bo To, the most prominent leader then afoot in the 
district. The police were there before us, and the 
dacoits had disappeared. As we were alone, armed 
only with walking-sticks, perhaps it was lucky that 
we did not arrive an hour or two sooner. 

The last day of February, 1889, saw the formal 
opening of the railway from Toungoo to Mandalay. 
The occasion was celebrated with some pomp, Sir 
Charles Eliott,* K.C.S.I., Public Works Member, 
representing the Government of India. Later in the 
year, during the absence of Sir Charles Crosthwaite 
on privilege leave for three months, Mr. A. P. Mac- 
Donnell,f Home Secretary to the Government of 
India, acted as Chief Commissioner. Mr. MacDonnell 
was, of course, innocent of any knowledge of the 
country or the people. I doubt whether this brief 
interlude of administering a strange Province could 
have been a satisfactory experience to him. I am 
under the impression that the Chief Secretary's work 
was materially increased. 

At the end of 1889 Burma was honoured by the 
visit of His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of 
Wales (the late Duke of Clarence), who spent some 
days in Rangoon and Mandalay. The Royal visit 
was highly appreciated by the Burmese, as well as 
by the European community, and was celebrated 
with much demonstration of genuine spontaneous 
loyalty. Chief of His Royal Highness's staff was 
the late Sir Edward Bradford, whose high qualities 
it were superfluous to praise. 

* Afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. 

t Lord MacDonnell of Swinford, P.C, G.C.S.L, K.C.V.O. 



CHAPTER XIII 

A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 

The Shan States occupy the whole of the eastern 
side of Upper Burma, and border on French Indo- 
China, China, and Siam. It is sometimes erroneously 
supposed that they are independent or semi-inde- 
pendent States, on the same footing as native 
States in India. From Theinni in the north to 
Mobye in the south, from the Myelat in the west 
to Kyaingt6n in the far east, these States were an 
integral part of the Burmese kingdom, over which 
the Burmese assertion of sovereignty was never 
abandoned or successfully resisted. Burmese Resi- 
dents and garrisons were maintained. Though there 
were rebellions, revolts, and massacres, though in 
King Thebaw's time the bonds of authority were 
loosened, independence was never established. Each 
State was administered by its own chief, Sawbwa, 
Myosa, or Ngwekunhmu, appointed or recognized 
by the Burmese Government, and very practically 
subject to the King and his Council. Consequently, 
when we succeeded to the sovereignty of Burma, the 
Shan States became as much an integral part of 
British India as any district of Upper Burma. To 

225 15 



^26 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUrMA 

speak of the annexation of a Shan State is incorrect. 
Those States, such as Wuntho and Kale, which 
have ceased to be governed by their own chiefs, 
have been, not annexed, but taken under direct 
administration. The distinction between the Shan 
-States and the rest of Burma is one not of political 
status, but of administrative method. The Legis- 
lative Councils of India and Burma make laws for 
the Shan States as for other parts of the Province. 
This power was exercised as long ago as 1886 in the 
first Statute relating to Upper Burma, The prin- 
ciple has been consistently maintained. • The States 
which are really semi-independent, subject to suzer- 
ainty, are those of Karenni. The historical explana- 
tion is that before we took Upper Burma we 
strenuously maintained that Karenni was not part 
of the King's dominions. When we succeeded "to 
the King's rights, we could not decently assert the 
contrary. But though there is a theoretical distinc- 
tion, in practice Karenni is as much under control 
as the Shan States. 

In less than a year from the proclamation which 
incorporated Upper Burma in the Empire, surely 
as speedily as could be expected, an expedition was 
despatched to assert our authority in the Shan 
country. Colonel Stedman* was in command, with 
Mr. A. H. Hildebrandf and Mr. J. G. Scott J as 
civil officers. A full account of the operations of 
the expedition has been given by Sir Charles Crosth- 

. * Sir Edward Stedmaiij already often mentioned. 
t Mr. A. H. Hildebrand, CLE. 
t Sir J. George Scott, K.C.I.E. 




I'Aii' iiiA AT Monk. 



A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 227 

waite.* I need not attempt to tell again the tale 
of Mr. Hildebrand's conspicuous success : how he 
traversed the States, receiving the submission of the 
Chiefs and confirming them in their offices ; how by 
tact and firmness, almost without striking a blow, 
he imposed peace on this distracted country ; how 
he became the friend and monitor, as well as the 
strict supervisor, of every Chief. Nor must I yield 
to the temptation to recount once more the story of 
Mr. Scott's gallant feat of arms in the capture of 
Twet Nga Lu, or of his later even more splendid 
display of the courage which dares the impossible 
when, with a handful of Gurkhas, he brought to his 
knees in his own capital the chief of Kyaingt6n, 
the largest and most secluded of the States. Are 
not these things written in the book so often quoted 
in these pages ? It is a far cry to the Shan country 
and across the Salween, or these tales would be as 
familiar to Britons as any tale of chivalry. 

Mr. Hildebrand became the first Superintendent 
of the Shan States. A little later they were divided 
into two groups, Northern and Southern, under two 
mutually independent Superintendents working in 
direct communication with Government. The Shan 
States extend over an area estimated at about 
60,000 square miles. Here, as elsewhere in Burma, 
our aim has been to administer as far as possible in 
accordance with pre-existing custom. Each State 
is ruled by its own Chief, who has the power of 
life and death, appoints his own officials, and manages 
his own finances and domestic affairs. The Chiefs 
* " The Pacification of Burma." 



228 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUUMA 

administer their own customary law, subject to the 
provisions of a very simple code, probably the 
shortest since the Decalogue, which lays down a few 
general principles and prohibitions. Issued in 1890, 
it still remains unaltered. The Chief is appointed 
by Government, and receives a sanad, or order of 
appointment, defining his functions and limitations. 
He is under the control of the Superintendent, and, 
to a less degree, of the Assistant Superintendents in 
charge of subdivisions, into which the States are 
distributed. These officers have by law extensive 
powers of intervention and revision, but as far as 
possible they abstain from active interference in the 
economy of the State. So, too. Government ordin- 
arily avoids exertion of direct authority, but, if 
occasion requires, does not hesitate to deprive a 
chief of part of his powers, to change the order of 
succession, to amalgamate adjacent territories, to 
alter boundaries, even, as an extreme measure, to 
take a State under direct administration. All receipts 
from forests and minerals belong to the general 
revenues of the Province, rights over forests and 
mines being reserved by Government. Subject to 
this reservation. Government levies no taxes on the 
people. Each State pays a fixed sum annually as 
tribute, the assessment being revised every ten 
years. The demand is moderate, and at the de- 
cennial revision pleas for reduction are indulgently 
considered. It need hardly be said that the chiefs 
are required to keep the peace among themselves. 
They are responsible for the good order of their 
territories, and maintain their own local police in 



A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 229 

picturesque uniforms. There is also a small body of 
regular police under the civil officers. The garrison 
consisted at first of troops, then of military police, 
then partly of troops and military police, now again 
of military police alone. Each group, the Southern 
and the Northern, has its own battalion. Such, 
briefly and in outline, is the way in which the Shan 
States were governed five-and-twenty years ago ; 
such is the way in which they are governed now. 
Probably no dependency of so great an extent is 
administered so inexpensively or with so little dis- 
play of force. As a study in administration the 
experiment is full of interest, and has been remark- 
ably successful. In five-and-twenty years there have 
naturally been changes and improvements. At first 
the Chiefs lived for themselves, caring only for their 
own ease and comfort, whUe, as was graphically 
said, " the bloodsuckers around them were making 
hay." Now they are becoming more enlightened, 
and beginning to realize their responsibilities. They 
are learned in the mysteries of budgets and taxation 
rolls. Some take a zealous interest in road-making, 
in digging canals, in promoting the growth of new 
staples, in sanitation and medical relief. Many of 
the Chiefs are courteous and intelligent gentlemen, 
who live on terms of easy friendship with British 
officers. Several have visited India, more are 
familiar with Rangoon and Mandalay. One Chief, 
formerly very shy and reserved, now gallops on our 
polo-grounds. His ambition was to visit Rangoon 
periodically for the purpose of gazing on the ball- 
room at Government House, which reminded him of 



230 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Heaven. When all is said, it must be remembered 
that the chiefs are merely officers of Government of 
no very high position, like other officers, holding 
their appointments during good behaviour. 

The Shans,* remnants of the race which once 
dominated a vast empire in Eastern Asia, including 
the whole of Northern Burma to the confines of 
Tibet, are now somewhat backward in civilization. 
A clannish folk, with the cohesion lacking among 
Burmans. If you get hold of the chief you secure 
his people also. This no doubt facilitated the task 
of settlement. Of fierce appearance, to us they 
seem unwarlike. Once at least a conflict was 
stopped by a British officer adopting the simple 
expedient of pitching his camp midway between two 
hostile armies. But before our coming internecine 
feuds raged savage and devastating. Like medieval 
barons, Chief warred against Chief, laying waste the 
country. Populous cities reduced to ruinous heaps 
gave place to miserable hamlets. Wide stretches of 
fertile land, thrown out of cultivation, became 
deserts of jungle and tall grass where the tiger 
made his lair and the elephant ranged at will. 
Under the firm and just rule which we have sub- 
stituted for the intermittent ferocity of Burmese 
dominion, the Shan plateau is reviving, and once 
more promises to be an orchard and a harvest-field. 
Scantiness of population and distance from markets 
alone retard the cultivation of wheat, vegetables, 
and fruit. Now a railway to the Southern States is 

* A full account of the Shans is to be found in Mrs. Leslie 
Milne's charming book, "The Shans at Home." 



A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 231 

being made. If it is not stopped in mid-air, and if 
no parsimonious schemes hinder through communica- 
tion, an era of prosperity for the Shan country is at 
hand. 

Early in 1890, I accompanied Sir Charles Crosth- 
waite on the first visit paid by a Chief Commissioner 
to the Southern Shan States. We rode from the 
railway at Meiktila road (Thazi), past Hlaingdet, up 
and along the customary mule-track to Kalaw, on 
the border of the Myelat* plain. The cart-road 
was yet unmade. There was not a cart of any kind 
in the Shan country. Kalaw lies in the midst of 
pine-forests, a perfectly lovely spot, believed by 
many to be the future hill-capital of Burma. It 
will be an important station on the new railway. 
Personally, I doubt whether it will displace May- 
mfo, though it may well be to Maym^o what 
Mussoorie is to Simla. From Kalaw we rode 
through the Myelat, fine open country, but inter- 
sected by many ravines, to Nyaungywe, on the edge 
of the Inle Lake. The chiefs of the Myelat States 
flocked to meet the head of the Province, and with 
bands of wild retainers, with much clashing of 
cymbals and beating of gongs, escorted him on his 
march. Crossing the lake we came to Fort Stedman, 
then the civil and military headquarters. Here the 
Chief Commissioner halted for some days, interview- 
ing local officers and many Shan notables, and 
holding a Durbar, at which he addressed the 
assembled Chiefs. These State visits to Fort 

* Myelat = middle country — the name given to the small 
Western States bordering on Burma proper. 



232 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Stedman and Taung-gyi, which afterwards became 
the Superintendent's headquarters, were full of 
interest, certainly to the visitors, probably also to 
the local inhabitants. I have assisted at three such 
visits. From distant hills, from far across the 
Salween, come multitudes of strange people eager to 
do honour to the representative of their Sovereign, 
Weird dances by outlandish folk, grotesque caper- 
ings some, others slow melancholy measures, ex- 
pressed the popular rejoicing. The lake was alive 
with boats competing in exciting races. Men and 
women took part in these contests. Here you 
might see the Sawbwa distribute prizes to victors 
and vanquished, these races being of the nature of a 
caucus-race, and smearing with lime the foreheads 
of the losers. You shall also see the lake-dwellers 
standing and rowing with legs instead of arms, a 
difficult and, as one may think, somewhat useless 
feat. Many young and ambitious officers have 
sought to accomplish it, but in vain. The lake-men 
row in this way with perfect ease and skill, but not, 
I think, faster than a boat paddled in the ordinary 
style. 

Fort Stedman is well situated in the State of 
Nyaungy we, one of the largest and most prosperous 
of the Southern States. At the time of the annexa- 
tion, the Sawbwa was Saw Maung, a man of culture 
and education, trained at the Court of Mandalay in 
all the learning of the Burmans. Soon after, his 
cousin Chit Su rebelled against him. In the first 
fight Saw Maung was severely wounded, being shot 
through both thighs. Very confidingly, he placed 




< 

X 



A VISIT TO THE SHAN STATES 233 

his troops and arms at the disposal of his brother, 
Saw On, who offered to suppress the revolt. Having 
done this effectually, occupied the capital, and tasted 
the sweets of power. Saw 6n declined to make way 
for the rightful Chief. Forced to retire. Saw Maung 
with a small following established himself on the 
borders of the Myelat. Thence, anxious to prevent 
more fighting, Government summoned him to 
Mandalay and directed him to stay there in receipt 
of an allowance. In the Shan States, as elsewhere, 
our policy was to accept existing facts. If the Chief 
in actual possession was willing to submit, he was 
confirmed in his office. When Mr. Hildebrand came 
to Nyaungywe, he was warmly welcomed by Saw 
On, whom he rescued from a position of much peril. 
Saw On, therefore, was recognized as Sawbwa and 
held charge till his death some years later. He was 
the chief whom Sir Charles Crosthwaite found in 
Nyaungywe, a boisterous uncivilized person, with 
some sense of humour, whose loud laugh concealed a 
mind by no means vacant of ability and cunning. 
At his death. Saw Maung* was restored to his 
State. He proved an excellent ruler, probably the 
most enlightened and progressive of the Shan chiefs, 
fuU of projects for the good of his people, and ex- 
ceedingly popular with all classes. Though in the 
early days after his return the lake-men were ready 
to rebel against him, not many years later, when 
Their, Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of 
Wales visited Mandalay, Saw Maung sat in the 

* The Honourable Saw Maung (Sao Mawng), CLE., K.S.M., 
Member of the Local Legislative Council. 



234 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BURMA 

boat of the leg-paddlers competing in a race onT^e 
moat. 

From Fort Stedman we returned by the way we 
came, the Chief Commissioner for my sake con- 
siderately riding the last three marches in one day. 
According to the original programme, if we had 
missed the train I should have missed also the 
steamer which was to take me home on my first 
leave. I caught the steamer and enjoyed the leave, 
which lasted a few days over three months. I can- 
not say that I enjoyed the return journey from 
Calcutta in the middle of the monsoon, seeing no 
sun nor star, in a boat on which cockroaches of 
gigantic stature vied with myriads of red ants in 
making life hideous. 

I remained in Rangoon as Chief Secretary till the 
end of the year, when the Secretariat was re- 
organized and strengthened. Mr. Symes came back 
as Chief Secretary. I was appointed to be a 
Divisional Commissioner, but was seconded for duty 
as a Secretary till I went on furlough early in 1891. 
Mr. Mackenzie* became Chief Commissioner, Sir 
Charles Crosthwaite going to Council. The work of 
pacification and organization was completed. Con- 
scious of a great trust worthily discharged, the most 
eminent of Burma's rulers moved on to fresh fields of 
action, less thrilling but not less honourable. 

* See note, p. 138. 



CHAPTER XIV 

RANGOON— MANDALAY 

When I returned early in 1893, Mr. Fryer was 
acting as Chief Commissioner during Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie's absence on leave ; Mr. Symes was still 
Chief Secretary. For a few weeks I was on special 
duty examining and abstracting the documentary 
evidence concerning the boundary between Burma 
and China, then in the acute stage of discussion 
between the two Governments. After this was done, 
for a short time I held charge of the Pegu division. 
It was a most unsatisfactory appointment. The 
Commissioner was still Sessions Judge, and, though 
assisted by a coadjutor, took a fuU share of the 
original and appellate work. Piled on top of the 
revenue and administrative duties, this formed a 
mountain which no one could scale. However 
strenuously the Commissioner laboured, however 
much he accomplished, he felt that as much or more 
remained undone. This was worse than the Secre- 
tariat, where, with diligence, one could keep abreast 
of the files. 

The one exciting incident of my brief tenure of 
this office was the riot in Rangoon between Moham- 

235 



236 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

medans and Hindus in June, 1893. In Burma we 
were accustomed to a mild and tolerant religion, and 
had little acquaintance with the fierce fanaticism of 
warring sects. We resented bitterly the stirring up 
of strife by Mohammedans and Hindus in a land 
where they were strangers and pilgrims, hospitably 
received and treated with courtesy and considera- 
tion. Just as if guests should hurl decanters at one 
another across their host's dinner-table. It is not 
quite accurate to say that Burmans dislike and 
despise Indians. They welcome them with large- 
hearted tolerance, and live amicably side by side 
with them. But the Burman regards himself as a 
superior being, much superior to anyone, except, 
perhaps, even this is doubtful, a European. And 
he does resent Indians being placed in authority 
over him. 

The occasion of this unusual and unnecessary 
tumult was the Mohammedan festival of Bakr-i-id. 
Though in Burma we have, I think, a slight leaning 
to the side of Mohammedans, whose religion is less 
puzzling to the lay mind than the abstruse myth- 
ology of the Hindus, I am bound to say that this 
time the Mohammedans were entirely in the wrong. 
In Twenty-ninth Street, a narrow thoroughfare of 
no good name, stood a Hindu temple of some repute. 
Having the rest of Rangoon practically at their dis- 
posal, the Mohammedans declared it essential to 
sacrifice their cow close to this temple. Forbidden 
by the magistrate to do this, it was expected that 
they would set at naught the prohibition. Such 
precautions as seemed necessary were taken by the 



RANGOON— MA NDAL AY 237 

Deputy Commissioner, Mr. A. S. Fleming, who was 
in close communication with me and with the Chief 
Secretary, Mr. Fryer being absent on tour. We 
determined to do the best with the police before 
calling out troops. Military and civil police patrols 
were organized ; and early on Sunday morning, the 
great day of the feast, a fairly strong picket of 
military police, partly Mohammedans and partly 
Hindus, was posted at the top of Twenty-ninth 
Street. All local and civil officers, as well as others 
not immediately concerned, were in the town. The 
streets were thronged with people, Mohammedans 
in holiday attire, Hindus ready to make mischief, 
both sides spoiling for a fight. From the top of 
Twenty-ninth Street could be seen the great mosque 
in Mogul Street, crowded with excited worshippers. 
For a time, though the tension was extreme, nothing 
happened. One high official, who was present as a 
sightseer, asked wherefore the rioting did not begin. 
Before long he was satisfied. The crowd became a 
seething mass. A rush was made to force the 
picket holding Twenty-ninth Street. Then stones 
began to fly, and all was confusion. Sowars* cleared 
the street, but as soon as the charge was past the 
roadway was again filled with rioters. Mr. Fleming 
had his head cut open by a stone. My thick topif 
saved me from a similar mishap, and I was struck 
by missiles more than once. The spot near the 
objective of strife, where several of us were standing, 
became a very warm corner. It seemed advisable to 
summon troops. My friend Mr. E. W. B. Summers 
* Mounted military police. t Sun helmet. 



238 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

volunteered to ride up to barracks, running the 
gauntlet of showers of stones from street and houses. 
That shots were fired from windows was said, but 
this is not within my knowledge. At last it became 
clear that the small party of police and officials at 
the top of Twenty-ninth Street was in imminent 
danger of being wiped out. I therefore told the 
senior military police officer to take the necessary 
measures to stop the riot. A file of men was ordered 
out, and a volley was fired, causing some loss of life. 
As if by magic, the uproar ceased in a moment. At 
first, by my order, blank cartridge was fired, but 
without effect. It has since been definitely ordered 
that on these occasions blank cartridge is never to 
be used. I dare say I am wrong. Certainly the 
weight of authority is against me. But if I used 
my own judgment, in a similar emergency, as a 
measure of humanity, I should again try first the 
effect of blank firing. The statement made at the 
time that blank fire only infuriated the mob is quite 
baseless. It had no effect whatever. By the time 
the troops arrived all was quiet. The soldiers 
marched through the streets and were picketed in 
the town, and there was no further disorder. 

This is the story of the riot of 1893 as pictured in 
my memory. Yet such is the fallibility of human 
testimony that accounts written immediately after- 
wards by myself and two other officers, all close 
together at the time, differed on material points. 
This was a useful lesson to me in dealing with the 
evidence of eye-witnesses, especially in times of 
excitement. Defects of observation and lapses of 



RANGOON— MANDALAY 239 

memory cause discrepancies in the stories of wit- 
nesses whose sole desire is to tell the truth. The 
stern suppression of this wicked and wanton riot 
kept the peace in Rangoon for twenty years. At 
first, as Bakr-i-id came round, troops were posted in 
the town. But there has been no disturbance, and 
display of military force has been discontinued. I 
do not think Indians bore me any ill-will for the 
part taken by me in this affair. To the end of my 
service many of them remained my good friends. 
Within a couple of months of the riot my wife and 
I were welcomed at the Mohurram in Mandalay, 
listened to the sad story of Hassan and Hussein, 
and watched the fiery rites of that impressive 
celebration. 

In the middle of 1893 I became Commissioner of 
the Northern Division. The country was perfectly 
quiet and in order. Settled times had succeeded 
the bustle and confusion of the pacification. There 
was now leisure to prepare and execute projects for 
the benefit of the people. First among these was 
the Mu Valley Railway, which runs from Sagaing 
to Myit-kyina, opening up the fertUe, land-locked 
plains of Wuntho, where a year or two earlier 
unhusked rice sold for ten rupees a hundred baskets, 
and rich lands farther north. A branch runs to 
Katha, on the Irrawaddy, below Bhamo, with which 
there is connection by ferry. Between Mandalay 
and Sagaing there is still a gap in the system. As 
soon as funds are available the Irrawaddy must be 
bridged, and through communication established 
from Rangoon to Myit-kyina. Even more important 



240 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BUEMA 

than the railway were two great irrigation schemes 
for watering the dry districts of Mandalay and 
Shweho. These were being examined and matured. 
When I rode through Shwebo in the autumn of this 
year with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. G. W. 
Shaw,* the fields were as hard as the stony-hearted 
pavement of Oxford Street. Anxiously the people 
watched the sky, longing for the appearance of the 
smallest cloud. Eice was scarce, and edible roots 
formed the staple fare of the peasantry. We were 
perilously near the Famine Code. In those days, if 
Shwebo had one good year in three, it reckoned 
itself fortunate. Luckily, at harvest-time there was 
always work in Lower Burma ; and if the season 
failed, crowds streamed down to the teeming rice- 
fields of the Delta, whence they honourably remitted 
sustenance for the women, the aged, and the infirm 
left in their homes. Though emigration is easy and 
common enough, most Burmans are strongly attached 
to their birthplace, and cling with passionate affec- 
tion to their ancestral lands. Mortgages are kept 
alive for a century or more, the hope of regaining 
possession being abandoned with extreme reluctance. 
Thus, though many farmers from the sterile north 
took up land in the Delta and made new homes, the 
majority hastened back to their native districts at 
the faintest prospect of a good season. Now in 
Shwebo, thanks to the Irrigation Canal, the face of 
the country is changed. Thousands of acres formerly 
dependent on precarious rainfall receive ample and 

* Sir G. W. Shaw, C.S.I., acting Lieutenant-Governor of 
Burma. 



RANGOON— MA.NDALAY 241 

regular supplies of water, and are under continuous 
cultivation. The pretty song of the women as they 
plant out the seedlings from the pyogin* is doubt- 
less heard as of yore, now not intermittently, but 
each year as the season recurs. A District which 
was too often a barren waste is now a rich harvest- 
field, giving grain not only for local use, but for 
export. Similar good results have been obtained 
in the Mandalay district by similar means. These 
irrigation systems, which not only enrich the people, 
but also yield a handsome revenue, were planned 
and executed with all the skill and science of irriga- 
tion engineers experienced in such work in the 
Punjab. They were based on the old Burmese 
works, which had fallen into disrepair, and which at 
no time were sufficiently well planned and managed 
to secure regular crops. 

On the borders, the Kachins had been reduced to 
order and had become for the most part a law- 
abiding people. No longer were they permitted to 
levy toll on passing caravans, or to raid and oppress 
the plain villages at the foot of their hills. Their 
subjugation had not been effected without difficulty. 
In 1891 and 1892 there was severe fighting at Sima 
and Sad6n ; and as recently as Christmas, 1892, 
Myitkyina had been attacked and burnt by a raiding 
party from the north. But when they had been 
well beaten, and when posts had been established at 
various points, the hillmen rapidly settled down. 
The discontinuance of their lawless practices was 
more than compensated by the wealth acquired as 

* Nursery of seedlings. 

16 



242 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

payment for services rendered to our officers and 
military police garrisons. The Kachins, in which 
name may be included, conveniently if unscientifi- 
cally, many kindred tribes speaking diiferent dialects 
and following diverse customs, are sturdy fellows, 
peopling the hills of the Bhamo district, on the 
borders of China and Tibet. As a race, they have 
the vigour and vitality characteristic of mountaineers. 
They are distinctly one of the most progressive races 
of Burma, and, but for our advent, would have 
penetrated gradually far into the plains of Burma 
and the Shan States. Washed and brushed up, 
many Kachins show signs of a high order of in- 
telligence. 

At this time the Bhamo district still included all 
the Kachin country, Myitkyina not being yet con- 
stituted a separate charge. Mainly by the genius 
of Mr. E. C. S. George,* the system of managing 
the tribesmen was evolved. The hills were divided 
into administered and unadministered tracts. In 
the latter there were no posts, and no interference 
was attempted. So long as their inhabitants 
abstained from raids and outrages in the settled 
country ; so long, as was somewhat crudely said, as 
they confined their zeal for slaughter to their own 
borders, they were at liberty to do as they pleased. 
No officers visited them, summoned them to appear, 
or exacted any tax or tribute. Travellers crossed 
the administrative line at their own risk, Govern- 
ment accepting no responsibility for their safety, and 

* Mr. E. C. S. George, CLE., I.C.S. (retired), whom ill-health 
alone prevented from attaining the highest distinction. 



RANGOON -M AND ALAY 243 

refusing to exact reparation if they suffered wrong. 
Our sovereignty over these tracts was not abandoned ; 
it was merely left in abeyance. From time to time 
the administrative line has been varied. On this 
side of the line Government undertook to preserve 
order and to punish misconduct. The administered 
country was dominated by police posts and placed 
in charge of the Deputy Commissioner and his 
assistants. Control light but effective was enforced. 
A simple code was promulgated, care being taken to 
avoid the creation of artificial offences and undue 
interference with local customs. Each village- ta-act 
had its own headman, with fairly extensive powers, 
appointed by the Deputy Commissioner. In early 
days the headman was rather absurdly called 
Sawbwa ; with fuller knowledge the title of Duwa 
was adopted. Periodically in the open season, the 
Deputy Commission and his Assistants, with suitable 
escorts, made set tours through the hiUs, trying 
cases, settling disputes, and collecting the moderate 
tribute or household tax, the only revenue raised 
from the Kachins. This patriarchal system, which 
was gradually perfected, has succeeded admirably. 
Since the beginning of 1893, only one serious 
disturbance* has broken the peace of the Kachin 
country. The orderly condition of our hill-tracts 
afforded a pleasing contrast to the state of those 
close at hand under Chinese control, where complete 
indifference alternated with savage measures of 
repression. 

Affairs on the Chinese border gave some trouble. 

* See^p. 250. 



244 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

The boundary had been declared, but not yet de- 
marcated. Its actual location being still undeter- 
mined, it was difficult to prevent encroachments, 
some of which were designed to strengthen the 
Chinese case when the border-line came to be 
settled. We had to correspond directly with 
Chinese officers at Yunnan-fu and T'^ngyueh, con- 
sular officers at these places not having yet been 
appointed. On the whole, the Chinese were not 
bad neighbours. We certainly were not afraid of 
them, but were able to take a correct measure of 
their power as of their diplomacy. 

At the end of the year 1893, just at the close of 
his turn of office, the Viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, 
came to Burma. With Lady Lansdowne, he visited 
Mandalay, went up the river as far as Bhamo, and 
by launch through the First Defile to Sinbo. In His 
Excellency's party were Sir Henry Brackenbury,* 
Military Member of Council; Sir John Ardagh, 
Private Secretary ; Mr. W. J. Cuningham,! Foreign 
Secretary ; and once more Lord William Beresford 
as Military Secretary. The administration of the 
Kachin Hills and the Chinese boundary was dis- 
cussed on the spot by the Viceroy with the Chief 
Commissioner and his local officers. At Bhamo the 
Viceroy held a Durbar on the house-boat in which 
the Chief Commissioner was wont to travel in com- 
fort, if not in luxury. Kachin Duwas came in 
crowds and laid spears and elephant tusks and 

* General the Right Honourable Sir Henry Brackenburyj 
P.C, G.C.B., K.C.S.I., R.A. 

t Sir William John Cuningham, K. C.S.I. 



KANGOON— MANDALAY 245 

embroidered cloths at His Excellency's feet, receiv- 
ing more valuable gifts in return. On shore weird 
Kachin dances were performed mid unseasonable 
rain, which damped the revels. It was a pity, for at 
the best a Kachin dance is a depressing ceremony, 
something like " Here we go round the mulberry 
bush," played by tired children. At Mandalay, in 
the golden-pillared Western Hall of Audience, a fit- 
ting setting for so brilliant a scene, another Durbar 
was held, glittering with uniforms of British officers 
and gay with the bright Court dresses of Burman 
and Shan notables. 

This cold season I toured in the hills for some 
weeks and in the pleasantest company. Captain 
Bower,* having covered himself with glory by hunt- 
ing down the murderer of Dalgleish and earned 
fresh laurels by his adventurous march across Tibet, 
came over to gather honey for the Intelligence hive. 
Mr. George, who made aU the bandobastt for the 
tour, was more at home among Kachins than any 
man of his time. Starting from Waing-maw, we 
marched inland to Sima, the scene of a fierce 
struggle not many months before, where Morton met 
a soldier's death and Captain Lloyd | won the 
Victoria Cross. So close to the border that in the 
first Boundary Convention, concluded when our 
diplomatists were in great awe of China's puissance, 
it was assigned to our neighbours, Sima was a little 

* Now Major-General Sir Hamilton Bower, K.C.B., recently 
commanding the Abor Expedition, 
t Arrangements. 
J Surgeon-General O. E. P. Lloyd, V.C, R.A.M.C. 



246 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

outpost in the hills. Surrounded by a stockade, a 
ditch, and barbed- wire entanglements, it was strong 
enough to resist any probable attack. Officers and 
men were housed in huts of mud or mat, stores and 
ammunition in sheds of corrugated iron. Long since 
these primitive posts have been replaced by sub- 
stantial forts built on scientific plans. A line of 
them holds the frontier and dominates the hills. 
From Sima we struck northward to Sad6n, then our 
farthest outpost. We strolled at leisure ; along 
forest paths up and down hill ; across clear mountain- 
streams, sometimes at a ford, sometimes by a sway- 
ing bridge hastily made of bamboos with a carpet of 
long grass, sometimes on a raft or rude dugout ; 
through thriving Kachin villages perched on crests 
of hills, where the barbarous people showed us no 
little kindness, offering fruits from their Taungyas* 
and encouraging us to explore their long, low 
thatched houses. A stretch of the march led easily 
over the saddle of a range of hills. In the morning 
the valleys were covered with a vale of mist ; as 
this dispersed, at our feet were spread fertile plains, 
and in the distance gleamed the Irrawaddy like a 
silver thread. Our escort was a score of mounted 
military police, our transport mules from China 
Early, but not too early, we rose and took a sub- 
stantial chota hazirif beside the camp-fire while the 
mules were loading up. Chinese muleteers have 
many good points, but they need handling, and sub- 
mit with reluctance to interference with their little 
ways. You may hearken, but their voice is not in 
* See p. 76. t Early breakfast. 



RANGOON— MANDALAY 247 

heaven before the lark. Even when they have been 
roused from slumber, it is any odds that two or 
three mules have wandered off in the night and 
have to be sought with vituperation best left 
obsdure. The actual loading is comparatively 
simple. The baggage is tied to a wooden saddle 
which is lifted on to the mule's back and left there 
unfastened. At that season, at the height of some 
three or four thousand feet, the climate was perfect, 
cool, and bright. We could march all day without 
inconvenience. Once started, we walked and rode, 
staying now and then to interview headmen and 
villagers with special reference to an inquiry into 
the opium habit which I was making for my own 
satisfaction, till we reached our halting-place, on the 
bank of a crystal stream. One inviolable rule was 
enforced. The sumpter mule always headed the 
cavalcade. After a dip in the river, while tents 
were being pitched we breakfasted under a shady 
tree at any hour from one to five, as the length of 
the march determined. The best servant in the 
camp was Captain Bower's Pathan, a hook-nosed 
ruffian from the North-West Frontier, who had been 
in every scrap on the border for a generation. 
When he raised his finger, the other servants fled 
gibbering. After dinner, the day's work over, he 
relaxed. In a leafy bower, like a figure from the 
Arabian Nights, smoking a hookah he sat holding 
enthralled a breathless audience with, one fondly 
hoped, stories of adventure. Perhaps he was only 
discussing prices in the bazaar. Next to him, longo 
intervallo, was the Kachin Zinaw who acted as in- 



248 A CIVIL SERVANT IN 3URMA 

terpreter and handyman. He began the march 
speaking Chinese, Shan, Burmese, and several 
Kachin dialects ; he ended with a working know- 
ledge of English and Hindustani, Zinaw was a man 
of great intelligence, but not of lofty principle. 
For negotiating the passage of a rushing stream, 
or for hastily rigging up a camp, he was invalu- 
able. Some years he flourished, till misdirected in- 
genuity brought him to grief. His last service 
to Government was rendered, I believe, in the 
Bhamo Jail. 

Up to Sadon we climbed with labour and heavy 
sorrow, each height surmounted revealing our goal 
apparently as distant as ever, till we were fain to 
sit down in the dust and weep. Drever, the post 
commandant, an athlete of renown, explained the 
special advantage of life at Sad6n. Whenever you 
went for a walk you had to descend 2,000 feet 
and climb up again. So you kept in condition. 
In posts like this one or two civil and military 
police officers spent the months guarding the 
marches. Occasional tours were welcome interludes. 
The work was not very arduous, and there was a 
blessed lack of files and records. But it was a hard 
life, with few amenities, often drearily monotonous. 
Our frontier officers cheerfully endured this isolated 
existence, and kept bright their country's honour 
among the hill tribes. 

Still passing northward, we reached the bank of 
the 'Nmaikha, the main branch of the Irrawaddy, 
which, starting from a source still unascertained, 
joins the Mali-kha some thirty miles above Myit- 



RANGOON— MANDALAY 249 

kyina. We camped at 'Nsentaru Ferry, forbidden 
to cross, as the enclave between the two rivers is 
unadministered territory, A scene of savage beauty, 
with hills on every side, the distant peaks on the 
Chinese border white with snow. "We rambled up- 
stream and along the bank of the 'Nmaikha, farther 
than any of our officers had yet penetrated.* 
Returning to camp at midday, we bathed in the 
ice-cold water of the river, fresh from the snowy 
hUls. 

From 'Nsentaru we marched through Kwitu and 
across the Irrawaddy to Myitkyina, then the head- 
quarters of a subdivision. It was but a small 
village, with very humble public buildings, well 
placed on a high bank of the river, whose waters 
flowed clear as crystal. Now it is the terminus of 
the railway, a flourishing town, with many Indian 
settlers, the resort of fishermen who catch mahseer 
of ever-increasing weight. We rode to the conflu- 
ence where the 'Nmaikha and Mali-kha join to form 
the Irrawaddy, more than a thousand miles from the 
sea ; a very picturesque spot, with the mountain- 
streams rushing and tumbling over rocks and 
boulders. We returned on rafts, and were privi- 
leged to shoot the rapids which impede the naviga- 
tion of the river above Myitkyina. They are not 
much to boast of as rapids, but the raftsmen made 
a fat fuss, shouting and hustling as we toiled 
through the eddies. 

* In recent years much of the country east of the 'Nmaikha 
has been taken under administration. Forts have been built 
and roads made far north of 'Nsentaru. 



250 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

From Myitkyina we rode inland to Mogaung, a 
singularly unpleasant town, important as a trading 
centre. In the regions north-west of Mogaung 
comes almost all the jade yet discovered ; the rest 
is found in Turkestan. Though lovely and orna- 
mental, jade is not classed as a precious stone, and 
has little vogue in Europe except for hilts of daggers 
in ladies' novels. Chinese merchants have a prac- 
tical monopoly, and most of the stone goes to China, 
where it is properly appreciated hy a nation of 
artistic taste. The right of levying ad valorem duty, 
on aU jade brought to Mogaung is farmed out by 
Government. As the value of a piece of jade in the 
rough cannot be determined accurately, the business 
of dealing and of farming is distinctly speculative. 
The value is revealed by cutting ; the duty is paid 
on uncut stones. The farmer assesses the duty on 
any piece of stone brought in. The owner has the 
option of either paying the duty or selling it to the 
farmer at the farmer's valuation. This plan insures 
fair dealing on both sides. But there is always the 
attractive element of chance. Except for the jade 
business and some historic associations, Mogaung 
was a dull and uninteresting place. Our objective 
was the lovely lake of Indawgyi, which I was not 
to see tiU nearly twenty years after.* 

Sudden news came of a Kachin rising on the 
eastern frontier. The escort of a civil officer had 
been attacked, and had suffered some loss. The 
border might be ablaze. The Deputy Commissioner 
must hasten to the spot ; nor could the Commis- 

* See p. 305. 



RANGOON-MANDALAY 251 

sioner remain unconcerned. We rode to Sinbo next 
day, covering nearly fifty miles on one pony apiece, 
carrying no kit and taking no attendants, our rations 
in our saddle-bags. At Sinbo we found a launch 
and all necessary comforts provided by Mr. George's 
forethought. Next day, as soon as the morning 
mist had lifted, the launch started, and in two 
minutes was fast on a sandbank. Not all the 
labours of the villagers, who turned out en masse, 
availed to move it a foot. Resolved to reach Bharao 
that day, we took a small boat and began the 
passage of the Defile. It was plain paddling with 
the stream, but parlous slow, and hot and cramped. 
When we were about half-way through, our luck 
changed. We met a Government launch, which we 
boarded and turned about. So at sundown we 
landed at Bhamo. Half an hour later the launch 
abandoned at Sinbo also arrived. 

Next morning we set out for the frontier. Riding 
most of the day and night, stumbling after dark on 
narrow ridges* between rice-fields, at about mid- 
night we came into camp, not without some slight 
risk of being shot by a zealous sentry. All escorts 
within range having been bidden by telegraph and 
signal to combine, quite a considerable force of 
military police and a dozen British officers were 
assembled. It was as if the Deputy Commissioner, 
fulfilling Pompey's thrasonical boast, had stamped 
upon the ground and raised legions. This sudden 
show of strength, coupled with Mr. George's tact 
and management, speedily restored peace. Leaving 
* Kazins. 



252 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

him to distribute rewards and penalties, I rode back 
with a tin of bully beef for sustenance, and a couple 
of sowars as escort. On the way I slept at the 
Kachin village of Pdnkan, where I was hospitably 
entertained by the Duwa, who not many years 
before had literally held Bhamo in terror. He was 
a tall and handsome savage, but somewhat given to 
drink. At Bhamo I spent the next hundred hours 
in making up six weeks' arrears of office-work. Then 
I took a day's rest. 

This was my best tour. But all the travelling in 
the Northern Division was full of interest. Mogok 
and the Ruby Mines provided an agreeable interlude. 
Katha, a pestilential district in the rains, was per- 
fect marching ground in the dry season. Wuntho, 
but lately brought into line, was revisited, and 
Piulebu, on the bank of the Mu River, once the 
Sawbwa's strong place of refuge, inspected. With 
me rode my old friend Maung Aung Zan,* now sub- 
divisional officer. Though of the girth regarded as 
suitable for a high official, and weighing, as he told 
me, 45 viss,t Aung Zan found a pony to carry him. 
His local knowledge was invaluable. We came to 
Mansi, at the end of the Banmauk road, which 
breaks oif so abruptly that one feels as if another 
step would take one over the world's edge into the 
abyss. Here was some excitement, the police post 
being threatened by a jungle fire rapidly nearing 

* Maung Aung Zan, K.S.M., District Judge. See p. 25. 
t A viss was then equal to 3'65 pounds avoirdupois. It has 
now been standardized at 3 -60 pounds. 



RANGOON— MANDALAY 253 

the wooden stockade. In these remote parts the 
people, of Shan race, were primitive folk of simple 
and engaging manners. Extremely poor, they earned 
a scanty livelihood in the forests, or by fishing, or 
by laborious cultivation of miscellaneous crops. Here, 
as elsewhere, courtesy and hospitality abounded. 
At the entrance of every village the headman and 
villagers came out to welcome us, the girls dressed 
in their simple best, bearing offerings of water and 
flowers. Inspecting a Court on this tour, I was 
refreshed by finding a case in which trial by ordeal 
for witchcraft was the main incident. The suspected 
witch was tied up in the fearless old fashion, and 
thrown into a stream. As she sank, and was with 
difficulty rescued, her innocence was made clear. 
The cause of action in the judicial case was her 
claim for damages for defamation. She was awarded 
£4 and costs. 

The Commissionership of the Northern Division 
was probably the most interesting office in Burma. 
Mandalay itself always seemed to me a goodly place 
wherein to live. 'Tis true that for a couple of months 
or so the heat is great ; but though the thermometer 
rises to 110° or more, the climate is dry, and yet we 
do not seem to have the excessive, suffocating heat, 
day and night, of the plains of Northern India. 
Again, every Aesthetic and artistic taste is gratified. 
Never to be forgotten are the battlements of the 
walls, the purple shadows on the eastern hills, the 
glowing sunsets on the moat, the splendour of moon- 
light in the Palace corridors. The frontier work was 



254 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

absorbing, and occasionally exciting ; the ordinary 
executive work enough to occupy one's time without 
being unduly exacting. Of the touring I have 
already tried to create an impression. Just across 
the road, too, so to speak, was the new hill-station 
of May-mjfo, then coming into notice. The railway 
to Lashio, in the Northern Shan States, was being 
made, and had not yet reached May-m5^o ; but it 
was easy to get up for a week-end. A drive of 
fourteen miles along the Aungbinle-bund to T6nbo, 
then a ride of thirty miles, with a change of ponies 
at Pyintha ; with an early start, May-m^o was 
reached in time for breakfast. We rode up by the 
railway road to the Zibingyi plateau, a craggy path 
sometimes rendered hazardous by showers of boulders 
rained down after blasting operations on the line 
above. Thence part of the route was over the 
plateau, through pleasant jungle-tracks, part along 
the embankment, where the rails were not yet laid. 
Returning by the same way, we got back to Man- 
dalay by office-hours on Monday. May-m^b was 
still in bud, perhaps even more delightful than in 
its fuUer bloom. Sweet were the rides through 
bracken and underwood, with the chance of losing 
one's way and a possible thrill of meeting a bear. 
And cheerful the gatherings at the Club, the trivial 
social pleasures in which all took part, Mandalay 
itself was a large military station, where good- 
fellowship has always reigned. 

It was therefore with regret that, early in 1894, 
I received Sir Alexander Mackenzie's summons to 



RANGOON— MANDALAY 255 

Rangoon to act as Chief Secretary for Mr. Symes, 
on furlough. At the time I was acting as Judicial 
Commissioner in a temporary vacancy caused by 
Mr. Burgess's absence on privilege leave. As was 
our custom in those days, I obeyed the order without 
remonstrance. 



CHAPTER XV 

LOWER BURMA ONCE MORE 

The next three years, with a brief interlude of 
privilege leave, were spent in Lower Burma. I was 
Chief Secretary for a year under Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie, for nine months under Sir Frederic 
Fryer, for three months under Mr. Donald Smeaton, 
who acted in a privilege-leave vacancy. Work was 
sufficient, not excessive. The Province was in order, 
and the Secretariat was administered on more regular 
lines than in the earlier strenuous years. It was no 
longer necessary to burn the midnight oil or to 
abjure exercise and recreation. Sir Alexander Mac- 
kenzie was a man of extraordinary capacity, and of 
abnormal, in my experience unexampled, speed of 
work. Throughout the day four Secretaries toiled 
and filled office-boxes with files ; by nine o'clock 
next morning all came back with the Chief Com- 
missioner's orders noted on them. It hardly seemed 
as if he could have had time to untie the bundles. 
Yet we had fi^equent evidence that cases were not 
dealt with perfunctorily. The speed with which 
Sir Alexander Mackenzie got to the root of a case, 
however elaborate or involved, seemed almost super- 

256 



LOWEE BURMA ONCE MORE 257 

natural. He left the Secretaries to do their own 
work, and wrote less than any other Chief I have 
known. A line of his writing would be the basis of 
a long draft. The least obstinate of men, he invited 
criticism and free expression of opinion, and was not 
afraid of changing his mind. But he was the strong 
man, the mainspring and motive -power of the 
Administration. No Secretary cherished the delusion 
that he was running the Province. We felt that he 
was the player whose organ-keys were thunders, and 
we, beneath his foot, the pedal pressed. Parentheti- 
cally, it may be observed that in Burma, and prob- 
ably in other Provinces which do not enjoy the 
blessing of Executive Councils, the theory that 
Secretaries are supreme has no foundation in fact. 
The power and subtle intrigues ascribed to provincial 
Secretariats are the vain imaginings of people who 
have had no experience of their working from within. 
The nonsense asserted or hinted by such persons is 
incredible, and would be ludicrous but for its effect 
on others equally ill-informed. Sir Alexander Mac- 
kenzie was a genial and appreciative Chief, under 
whom it was a pleasure to work. As an adminis- 
trator he was not in the same class as his immediate 
predecessor, nor did he inspire the personal en- 
thusiasm and affection which many of us felt for 
Sir Charles Bernard and Sir Charles Crosthwaite. 
But we respected his marvellous ability, and were 
grateful for his uniform kindness. According to 
popular belief, having finished his work before 
breakfast, he spent the rest of the day on a sofa 
reading light literature till it was time for tennis. 

17 



258 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

A distinguished visitor to Burma at this time was 
Lord Randolph Churchill. As Secretary of State 
when Upper Burma was annexed, he had a close 
association with the Province. The recollection of 
this was often in his mind, and gave a personal 
interest to his visit to Mandalay. His coming to 
Burma was tinged with melancholy, as his health 
was broken, and it was not long before his premature 
death. It is a privilege to have met him, even 
though not in his brilliant day, and it is a pleasant 
thought that he was able to see the country which 
he was instrumental in adding to the Empire. 

Again I must confess that life in the Secretariat, 
interesting enough to the workers, presented few 
incidents likely to enthrall the most sympathetic 
reader. The more smoothly the machinery worked, 
the fewer sparks were thrown off. Even in the 
Province, the happier the people, the less material 
for the bookmaker. True, there were exciting 
events even in that peaceful time. Two which 
startled us out of our equanimity may be recalled. 
Mr. Tucker, a member of a well-known family, many 
of whom have served the Crown in India, at the 
time District Superintendent of Police in Pegu, was 
an excellent shot and a notable sportsman. One 
night, when on tour in a country boat, he was 
aroused by the report of a dacoity close by. Leap- 
ing on shore at once, and calling to his boy* to 
bring his gun and cartridges, he hastened towards 
the scene. As he ran along the bank, he was shot 
dead by dacoits, without a chance of defending him- 
* Native servant (bhai). 



LOWEE BURMA ONCE MORE 259 

self. It was one of the ironies of fate that he, better 
than most men qualified for resistance, should have 
fallen thus obscurely. One by one all concerned in 
the crime were brought to justice, though some 
years passed before the tale was complete. The 
other lurid incident was the plunder of the mail- 
train between Yam^thin and Pyinmana, when 
Nelson, the guard, was murdered. The miscreants 
who perpetrated this daring outrage are believed to 
have been natives of India, formerly employed on 
the railway and conversant with its working. 
Boarding the train at Yamethin, they tampered 
with the couplings of the brake-van, of which one 
compartment was obliging'ly labelled " Treas,ure and 
valuables." At a lonely place they completed the 
severance of the van from the rest of the train, which 
went on, unconscious of the act. The unarmed 
guard was cut down and the treasure carried off. 
It was believed at the time that the real criminals 
were brought to trial. After protracted proceed- 
ings, they were finally acquitted on appeal. 

The year 1896 saw the very last of the dacoit Bos. 
Ten years before. Bo Cho had harried Myingyan and 
Pagan, the leader of a formidable gang ; once, when 
he met Captain Eyre, he is said to have led seven 
hundred men. Unlike other Bos, he was neither 
killed nor captured, nor did he surrender. When 
his band melted away, and dacoity became too 
hazardous a sport, he simply disappeared. Either 
he was dead, or he had plunged into effectual 
obscurity in the comparatively dense population of 
the Delta. Actually, he was living as a peaceful 



260 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

cultivator in a village in the middle of the Myingyan 
district. There he might have spent the rest of his 
days, perhaps becoming in time a Kyaung-taga, or 
even a Headman. No one would have dreamt of 
betraying him even for the price set upon his 
capture. Did not the munificent offer of Rs. 20,000 
fail to tempt any follower of Gaung Gyi ? * 
But after a time, apparently weary of a life of 
inaction. Bo Cho became restless. With two sons, 
he took to the jungle and began again the old trade 
of dacoity. Experience of the early years of the 
pacification was utilized. Mr. W. R. Stone,")" a 
newly joined Assistant Commissioner, with a small 
force of military and civil police, and with selected 
Burman officers to help him, was told off to catch 
Bo Cho. He was given full authority under the 
Village Regulation, and a free hand. The invalu- 
able power of removing to a distance friends and 
relatives of dacoits was unsparingly exercised. In 
a few weeks Mr. Stone dispersed the gang and 
captured Bo Cho and his sons, who were duly 
hanged in the Myingyan Jail. 

Rejoining after short leave at the end of 1896, 
I became Commissioner of the Irrawaddy division, 
and after many years again saw Bassein and even 
Pantanaw. Seen in the light of larger experience, 

* A dacoit leader in Tharrawaddy in the early days of the 
pacification of Pegu (1852-1860). This reward was offered by 
the Government of India instead of the modest two thousand 
suggested by Sir Arthur Phayre. Gaung Gyi went across the 
frontier when Tharrawaddy became too hot. I met some of his 
descendants in Mandalay. 

t Major W. R. Stone, I.A. 




o 



LOWER BURMA ONCE MORE 261 

and from the melancholy mound of advancing years, 
Bassein seemed quite different from the gay station 
of our giddy youth. Really, it was much the same, 
and in some ways it had improved. I found many 
old friends among Burmans, officials, advocates, and 
traders. Every greybeard wagged his head and 
welcomed me as contemporary. Seriously, I was 
very glad to see these old gentlemen, and not to find 
myself forgotten. But I could not disguise from 
myself, perhaps not from others, that my heart was 
in Upper Burma ; that I found the Delta folk, at 
least in the larger towns and villages, sophisticated 
and with too large a mingling of Kalas, and that I 
pined for Mandalay. The work was substantial but 
not overwhelming ; there was still time for the 
judicial part of it. We were in Irrawaddy only for 
the dry months, and were able to make some 
pleasant tours. Conditions of travelling by water 
were vastly better than in early days. There was 
already one house-boat, which, towed by a launch, 
was an agreeable substitute for the rice-boat of our 
youth. The Commissioner had not yet a house-boat 
of his own, such as that enjoyed by the present 
pampered official ; but on occasion we borrowed one 
from the friendly Deputy Commissioner of Maubin, 
Major Macnabb. In the northern part of the 
division travelling by land was easy in the dry 
weather. One exceedingly enjoyable tour in that 
part lives in my memory. We rode from Henzada 
to Ngathaing-gyaung traversing subdivisions held 
by two native officers, Maung Tin Gyaw and Maung 
Ba Bwa. 



262 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

Much has been said and written about the corrup- 
tion of Burmese officials. To hear some people, you 
would think there was no such rare bird, if indeed 
he be not fabulous, as an honest Burman in Govern- 
ment service. I am happy to say that my ex- 
perience enables me to place on record a far more 
favourable judgment. It would be absurd to 
pretend that corruption did not exist, even that it 
was very unusual. It has been my fortune many 
times to recognize, expose, and punish corrupt 
officers. Both in Upper and in Lower Burma we 
inherited the traditions of a feeble Oriental Govern- 
ment, and it was impossible that evil practices 
should not abound. Township officers and their 
subordinates, all natives of the Province, exercised 
great power, often free from constant and close 
supervision. To the mass of the people, in their 
daily life, the township officer and Thugyi, even 
more than the Deputy Commissioner, represented 
the Government. Furthermore, in early days the 
native services were ill-paid and had poor prospects 
of advancement. Till an honourable tradition was 
established, it could not be expected that all would 
resist the many temptations in thein path. Recog- 
nizing and admitting all these grounds of reserve, 
I am satisfied that very many Burmese officers have 
been perfectly honest and have faithfully justified 
the trust reposed in them. Men there are in whom 
I have such confidence that, were it shown to be 
misplaced, ray faith in human nature would be 
shattered. In recent years the pay and prospects 
of Burmese officers have been improved {quorum pars 



LOWEB BURMA ONCE MOBE 263 

eooigua fui). They now have fair wages and many 
roads to dignity and honour. Partly for this reason, 
partly from higher motives, a sound tradition is 
gradually becoming crystallized, and year by year 
the standard of morality is being raised. 

Of those* who, in comparatively early times, set 
a shining example of probity and efficiency, Maung 
Tin Gyaw was a fine specimen. Of good Talaing 
stock, he was one of the ablest native officers I have 
known. His father and uncle, whom a flippant but 
kindly, experienced, and appreciative Deputy Com- 
missioner used to call Bomulus and Bemus, were 
Circle Thugyis, when I knew them venerable white- 
haired men of distinguished appearance. One of 
them bore honourable scars of wounds received in 
action in the troubles of 1885. Maung Tin Gyaw 
himself, then in the prime of life, was a man of 
courage, -resolution, and independence. Well edu- 
cated as a boy, but only in the vernacular, in adult 
life he had succeeded in teaching himself enough 
English to enable him to read the Gazette with 
moderate ease. With lighter English literature I 
fear he was unfamiliar. In his subdivision, which 
he managed admirably, he had boundless personal 
influence (awza), that intangible quality which 
makes the administrator. Throughout his career he 
preserved a reputation for spotless integrity and 
honesty. Biding with us through his charge, 
Maung Tin Gyaw was a very agreeable companion, 
prompt in all courteous attentions, always at hand 

* I refrain from specifying many others, still living, lest by 
naming some I seem to slight others equally worthy. 



264 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

when required, but never obtruding his society un- 
sought. 

At one of our halts he found a wandering monk 
who had caused some commotion elsewhere, and was 
regarded with suspicion as a potential cause of 
political trouble. As I have said before, the wan- 
dering monk, who gathers crowds, practises magic, 
and heals the sick by charms and incantations, is 
always distrusted by the district officer. When he 
begins to tattoo his followers, it is time to put him 
on security or send him to jail. This monk proposed 
to walk through the subdivision and proceed to 
Ngathaing-gyaung. Maung Tin Gyaw regarded 
this proposition with disfavour. He forbade the 
monk to go by land. " In fact," said he, " that's 
a very tedious and uncomfortable way. Go back to 
Henzada, where you will find a steamer which will 
take you far more quickly and easily." " Please tell 
me," replied the monk, who was of the order of sea- 
lawyers, " by what law you will prevent me from 
going by land." " The law," said Tin Gyaw, " I will 
show you in Henzada. But back you shall go." 
And back he went under the friendly escort of a 
couple of constables, and so far as I know he gave 
no further trouble. No doubt a high-handed and 
illegal proceeding, but conducive to the peace of the 
district, and therefore explicitly approved by the 
Commissioner. Some years ago I had to mourn Tin 
Gyaw's loss. Till his death he was one of my most 
trusted and valued friends. Maung Ba Bwa, our 
other companion on this tour, I am glad to say still 
serves the State. I am therefore precluded from 



LOWER BURMA ONCE MORE 265 

saying more of him than that he, too, was an officer 
of distinction, who for some years managed an im- 
portant subdivision never before, I think, placed in 
charge of a Burmese officer. That these subdivisions 
should be entrusted to native Extra Assistant Com- 
missioners is an indication of the advance made 
in twenty years. 



■ CHAPTEE XVI 

MANDALAY— THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 

Early in 1897 I was once more in Mandalay, well 
pleased to be again among my friends in Upper 
Burma. In the short period of my charge of the 
Mandalay Division occurred the inevitable rising for 
which the time was ripe. In Burma a small rebellion 
breaks out with almost seasonable regularity. One 
evening, as I was on the point of going to the Club, 
then sumptuously housed in the western halls of the 
Palace, Mr. (now Sir George) Scott came in. Instead 
of going to the Club, we drove round Mandalay 
HiU. It was October, and the festival which marks 
the end of Buddhist Lent was being celebrated. At 
the Kuthodaw* Pagoda we alighted and mingled 
with the crowd. Pw^s were being played, and the 
scene was vivid with a gay and giddy throng of 
men, women, and children, decked with jewels and 
clad in rainbow-coloured silks. We met several 
friends, among them the Shwehlan Myowun, with 
whom Mr. Scott renewed an old acquaintance, f This 
was not the time of year when disturbance is ex- 
pected. The October festival is one of peace and 

* See p. 122. t See p. l66. 

266 



MANDALAY 267 

good-will, when the shadows of Lent have departed, 
when merry lights go sailing down the river, when 
the prospect of harvest is in sight. It is, moreover, 
a sure sign that no trouble is apprehended when 
women and children are seen in swarms at pwfes 
and public assemblies. So with cheerful hearts we 
resumed our drive, while with unconscious irony I 
explained to Mr. Scott the profoundness of our 
security, our firm hold on Mandalay, my confidence 
that nothing untoward could happen without timely 
warning. We sat down to dinner, and got as far as 
coffee and cheroots. Sir George Scott still regrets 
that he never tasted that coffee. For at this moment 
in ran Mr. Snadden, the Superintendent of Police, 
saying : " There is an insurrection. You had better 
come and see about it." When we arrived on the 
scene, the insurrection had been suppressed. A very 
ag^d monk had announced himself as the coming 
King, the reincarnation of a Prince dead some 
centuries ago. He possessed the power of making 
his followers invisible and invulnerable, always an 
advantage, especially to a small force contending 
against superior numbers. Perhaps his forces would 
not be so small, for presently he would throw leaves 
into the air and they would come down as armed 
men. His occult power he proved by walking thrice 
round his monastery and disappearing from sight. 
" Of course," said the Kinwun Mingyi, as he related 
the story afterwards, not wishing to impose upon 
my simplicity, " he hid himself somewhere." With 
such old wives' tales, and with promises of place and 
power, he beguiled a score of wretched dupes, mostly 



268 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

as old as himself. They sat and plotted beneath 
the humble mat-and-thatch monastery where the 
monk lived. My confidence that we should be 
warned in time was not misplaced. The local police 
inspector was told by a woman that a conspiracy 
was being hatched. The cry of " Wolf!" had been 
so often raised that he was mildly incredulous. 
When she led him to see the conspirators, and he 
found a lot of old men telling their beads, his 
unbelief was confirmed, and he declined to listen to 
the story. His want of faith cost him his appoint- 
ment. 

When the eventful evening came, armed only with 
swords and short spears hidden in the sleeves of 
their jackets, without a firearm of any kind, the 
little band marched to the taking of the walled city 
of Mandalay, garrisoned by two or three regiments. 
Their goal was the Palace where, said the monk, 
" when I take my seat on the throne, Burma will 
be my kingdom and the heretic kalas will flee." 
Almost at the outset, they were diverted from their 
purpose. Crossing the moat by the South Bridge, 
they came upon a British soldier walking with an 
Englishwoman. " Behold the enemy ; slay them," 
cried the mad monk. Hotly pursued, the luckless 
pair ran through the South Gate.* I regret to say 
that the police guard at the gate fled. Close by, in 
a large compound, stood the house of Major W. H. 

* For years afterwards, perhaps to this day, as a measure 
of superabundant caution, the city gates were closed early in 
the night, to the annoyance and inconvenience of strayed 
revellers returning late from dance or dinner without the walls. 



MANDALAY 269 

Dobbie* of the Indian Army. The woman ran along 
the garden fence, while the man darted in and gave 
the alarm. Then this nameless hero, alone and un- 
armed, went back to help his companion and met 
death unafraid. The woman, grievously wounded, 
survived. With his revolver, and supplied with 
cartridges by his gallant wife. Major Dobbie ran out 
and met the rebels at his gate. Single-handed, he 
held them at bay, doing much execution, till some 
other officers, attracted by the firing, came to his 
aid and completed the rout. In the city gateway a 
running fight ensued. The white walls were splashed 
with blood which long remained a memorial of that 
stirring night. One officer received a cut on the 
head. Of the rebels, five, including the leader, were 
killed and most were wounded. If the band had 
pursued its original Intention and made straight for 
the Palace, it would have come upon a few peaceful 
gentlemen sitting at dinner in the club with no 
weapons of defence handier than chairs and table- 
knives. The attempt was an isolated afiair, of no 
political significance, confined to the few fanatics 
actually engaged. Patrols were sent out and 
rewards proclaimed. Within a week we picked up 
all the surviving rebels. After trial, ten were 
hanged in the presence of many spectators ; the 
rest were sent to transportation. In the jail I spoke 
to one of the leaders, a man of fair position, some- 
what past middle age, the Kappiya-taga| of the 

* Brigadier-General W. H. Dobbie, C.B., commanding a 
brigade in India, 
t See p. 195. 



270 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

dead monk's monastery. He explained that he had 
no enmity or cause of enmity against Government. 
Ambition was the motive which impelled him. He 
was to be the new King's Chief Minister. The 
fortune of war being against him, he submitted to 
the penalty without complaint. 

The story is pitiful enough. These petty risings 
are of periodical occurrence, and seem to be peculiar 
to Burma. Three or four have broken out in the 
last few years. They are never of sufficient im- 
portance to cause any anxiety to Government. The 
sorrow and misery fall on ignorant, misguided 
peasants who are led astray by some soi-disant 
Prince. Always a pretender to royal blood, a 
Minlaung or embryo Prince, with power to work 
marvels, to bring fire forth from his arm, to kindle 
mystic lights, or cause gilding to be laid by unseen 
hands on a pagoda ; always fairy-tales of charms 
against death and wounds. It seems impossible to 
cure this insane disease of flocking to a pretender's 
standard. For the sake of the people themselves, 
these outbreaks must be suppressed with severity. 
We used to regard crimes against the State as 
crimes of the worst character, not as venial offences 
to be treated tenderly. This is the only kind of 
sedition which has hitherto troubled Burma. The 
mass of the people, no less than the educated classes, 
are too proud to follow demagogues from Bombay or 
Bengal. They seem to be too intelligent to hanker 
after representative institutions unsuited to the 
genius of the race. Recognizing that they already 
take a great part in the administration, they feel 



THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 271 

assured that as they show themselves fit, higher 
offices will be thrown open to their ambition. En- 
lightened Burmans see that the good of the people 
is the sole desire of Government, and that this is 
promoted by due submission to constituted authority, 
not by liberty of fluent rhetoric. While, therefore, 
other parts of India were seething with sedition, 
Burma alone remained unmoved, pursuing its steady 
march of progress. The speed of the march would 
be accelerated if Burma had more of its own money 
to spend, and if it were not often hampered by being 
made to conform to Indian precedents. All that we 
knew of sedition was the deportation of certain ring- 
leaders to Burma, where they were not likely to be 
regarded with any interest or sympathy. 

Towards the close of this year I relinquished 
charge of the Division on appointment to be Her 
Majesty's Commissioner for demarcating the bound- 
ary between Burma and China. The settlement of 
this boundary had long been under discussion 
between the two Governments. In 1893 had been 
concluded a Convention fixing a boundary-line very 
unfavourable to Burma. As already mentioned, 
Sima went to China and farther south the frontier 
was drawn perilously near Bhamo. Fortunately, an 
opportunity of revising this Convention occurred. 
The new Agreement laid down a line more practical 
and more in accordance with historical evidence. 
In the winter of 1897 a Joint Commission was 
appointed to ascertain and demarcate on the ground 
the frontier defined in the revised Convention, 
Mr. E. 0, S. George was Assistant Commissioner. 



272 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

My Chinese colleague was General Liu, with several 
Chinese assistants and a telegraph clerk as inter- 
preter. The Commission assembled at Bhamo as 
arranged. A few days were spent in settling pre- 
liminaries and exchanging courtesies. General Liu 
and his officers dined with us and we in turn were 
entertained at a Chinese feast. With some con- 
fidence, we set out for the frontier. Mr. George, 
with one of the Chinese Commissioners, was deputed 
to demarcate north of the Taiping as far as the high 
conical peak in latitude 25° 35', the extreme point 
mentioned in the Convention. With his customary 
vigour and decision, overcoming many difficulties, 
he accomplished his task. General Liu and I pro- 
posed to demarcate south of the Taiping. Of the 
party were Mr. W. Warry * of the China Consular 
Service, Major F. B. Longe "j" of the Survey of India, 
Captain E. W. M. Norie J of the Middlesex Regi- 
ment, Intelligence Officer, and Mr. D. W. Rae of 
the Provincial Service, an officer of tried experience 
in the Kachin HiUs. Captain J. W. L. fFrench- 
MuUen § commanded the modest escort of a hundred 
rifles of military police. 

We marched due east, through the pleasant hill- 
station of Sinlumgaba, past terraced rice-fields 

* For many years Chinese adviser to the Government of 
Burma. 

t Colonel F. B. Longe, C.B., R.E., formerly Surveyor-General 
in India. 

t Colonel E. W. M. Norie, A.D.C., Assistant Military 
Secretary at the War Office. 

§ Major J. W. L. fFrench-MuUen, C.I.E., Commandant of the 
Mjdtkyina Battalion of Military Police. 



THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 273 

watered by ingenious irrigation works, over shallow 
streams. With more than the wonted vigour of 
Chinese officials, General Liu exchanged his sedan- 
chair for a rough pony, and rode at the head of his 
ragged escort. The result did not justify the 
promise of the beginning. Almost at the outset, in 
circumstances with which I need not weary my 
readers, we came to a deadlock. Though the case 
was obviously one for compromise, General Liu, most 
courteous and most obstinate of men, declined to 
come to terms. There was no alternative but to 
refer the matter to our respective Governments, 
and await their orders. So after a very few 
days we settled down on the banks of a stream 
which up to that time had marked the provisional 
boundary 

Four weary months we spent beside that miserable 
stream, our escort on the Burmese side, the Chinese 
escort on the farther bank, occupying our time in 
sending urgent appeals to Government, and in 
holding endless conferences with our Chinese col- 
leagues. Our men, disciplined and well equipped, 
were under canvas, properly rationed and cared for 
by our medical officer. Among them were a few 
Kachins recently enlisted, very smart and proud of 
their new uniforms. Boots were to them at once 
a source of glory and of pain. Most of them 
marched bare-footed, carrying the precious but 
weary burden slung on their shoulders. In a village 
they put them on and swaggered about for the 
admiration of the girls. Hardy and brave, these 
mountaineers are likely to prove excellent material 

18 



274 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

for military police, perhaps even for the regular 
army. This season they were blooded in a small 
affair which Mr. H. F. Hertz had with an intrusive 
body of Chinese. They were among the first to 
scale the enemy's stockade. There are now several 
companies of Kachins in the battalions at Bhamo 
and Myitkyina. General Liu had his hundred 
Chinese braves, clad in picturesque rags, undis- 
ciplined, armed with the latest thing in rifles, which 
they had no idea how to use. They carried no 
tents, and had to house themselves in huts of leaf 
and bamboo. The comfortable arrangements made 
for our military police filled them with envy, and 
they gratefully accepted the attention of our 
surgeon. We could have enlisted as many as we 
pleased if we had wished to raise a Chinese 
battalion. They impressed us as being good raw 
material and quite well behaved, but in their existing 
conditions entirely useless as a fighting force. The 
futility of Chinese troops against a disciplined army 
has been abundantly exemplified on this frontier. 
Notwithstanding warnings and alarms in the Press 
of the presence of formidable arrays trained by 
German or Japanese instructors, and armed with 
rifles of the very newest pattern, we have never 
encountered from Yunnan a Chinese levy capable of 
standing up to our military police, far less to a 
British force of all arms. 

General Liu was a sturdy old man, who had seen 
service in the field. Although he succeeded in 
wasting the whole season, and broke solemn com- 
pacts with a serene smile, our relations on the whole 



THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 275 

were friendly. He wrote me innumerable despatches, 
adorned with the noblest moral sentiments, but in 
substance quite inconsequent. This was in accord- 
ance with established tradition. Very often he 
crossed over to our camp and talked for hours, 
probably for the benefit of his assistants and the 
egregious telegraph clerk. After drinking a liqueur, 
he would return to his own side of the stream, 
conscious of a morning well spent, and sit under a 
tree, cooling his head after the heat of argument. 
Among interesting visitors to his camp were 
Sawbwas of the Chinese Shan States, which lie 
along the border. These chiefs occupy very much 
the same position as those of our own Shan States. 
At times they enjoy greater freedom, at times are 
more severely repressed, than their brothers in 
Burma. One of them cherished a beard which 
Shagpat might have envied ; except on occasions of 
display, he kept it encased in a bag. Incidentally 
we were surprised by the arrival in our camp of two 
English travellers, who announced that they had 
travelled through China, and had just come from 
Lasa. Their report was received with derision by 
a correspondent, who thought that Lasa was the 
storied capital of Tibet, then untrodden ground. 
Their Lasa is one of the Chinese Shan States. In 
the course of the season we had a very effective 
eclipse, and were privileged to witness the Chinese 
beating gongs and making an incredible noise to 
frighten away the dragon devouring the sun, a 
custom of which we had heard, but hitherto had 
only in part believed to exist. 



276 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

Such were the trivial incidents which helped to 
pass the weary days, as we sat in our tents pitched 
in the midst of bare rice-fields, on a plateau some 
four thousand feet above the sea. Till the middle 
of March the climate was cold and bracing, with a 
sharp frost that covered buckets of water with ice 
an inch or two thick, at first an object of surprise 
and admiration to my Burman boy from the plains. 
We diverted ourselves as best we might, and from 
first to last were all good friends. By the camp- 
fire at night many a story was told. But that it 
was a monotonous time cannot be gainsaid. Even 
the resource of shooting was almost entirely absent. 
The hills swarmed with guns, old-fashioned muskets 
for the most part, and the Kachins very successfully 
kept down the game. We rode about the country 
for relaxation, visiting Kachin villages, and making 
the acquaintance of many Duwas. The most in- 
teresting was the blind Chief of Matang (Matin), a 
man of real influence, who had been of service to 
Colonel Sladen on his mission to Yunnan in 1868. 
Once or twice we visited Sinlumgaba, already men- 
tioned as a budding hill-station, and were cordially 
welcomed by the gunners out for practice at the 
neighbouring hill of Imlumshan. Somehow or other 
the months passed, in daily expectation of orders 
from Government enabling us to make a start. I 
do not know what was the cause of the delay. At 
last, at the end of the season, the long-awaited 
orders came. But it was too late. We parted 
from General Liu with mutual protestations of 
respeot and affection. In spite of his obstinacy, 



THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION 277 

duplicity, and pious dissertations, I could not help 
liking the old man. 

After writing my report and forming plans for 
the ensuing season, I acted for a time as Judicial 
Commissioner of Upper Burma. Towards the end 
of 1898 the permanent appointment became vacant, 
owing to the lamented death of Mr. Burgess. I 
was given the option of succeeding him or of retain- 
ing the office of Boundary Commissioner. I accepted 
the post of Judicial Commissioner. The demarcation 
of the boundary was successfully carried out in the 
next two seasons by Sir George Scott and Mr. 
George. 

Judicial work in Upper Burma, which occupied 
me for the next two years, was interesting but not 
exciting. The volume of work was sufficient, not 
beyond the pursuit of zeal and industry. The 
forensic part was varied and often entertaining, 
involving many studies of Buddhist law and in- 
digenous customs. Though not a very litigious 
people, Burmans hate being treated, as they think, 
unjustly. I have known a case where only a few 
pence were at stake carried through all the Courts 
up to Mandalay. Besides hearing appeals and 
revisions as a High Court, the Judicial Commissioner 
had to supervise, and, where necessary, instruct the 
subordinate judiciary. The judicial system was less 
elaborate than in other Provinces, and many magis- 
trates and Judges retained characteristics acquired 
under Burmese rule. They did their best, and 
administered what was perhaps at times a wild 
kind of justice. They had the Civil Procedure Code 



278 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BURMA 

thrust on them, me judice, at too early a date, but 
they bore the infliction with resignation. The 
Judicial Commissioner's duties involved a fair 
amount of administration and a good deal of 
inspection. With the members of the small but 
efficient Bar his relations were friendly and cordial. 
The Judicial Commissioner held sway within the 
limits of his powers over all Upper Burma save, 
mercifully for them, the Shan States and the Chin 
and Kachin Hills. Inspections included many 
parts of the Province by me before unvisited. Of 
these brief visits, full of interest at the time, it 
were tedious to write at length. A sample may 
be given. Early one morning I landed at a way- 
side village to inspect the township court. A 
graceful little pandal* had been erected wherein I 
was invited to witness a pwfe before beginning work. 
Innocently consenting, I took my seat and the 
performance began. Dancers came, not single spies, 
but in battalions. Every village in the neighbour- 
hood had sent its troupe, each eager in succession 
to display its skill and grace. Except one, all the 
companies consisted of quite young girls, not pro- 
fessionals, but daughters of the village. The last 
turn was given by a band of small boys delightfully 
dressed in green jackets and knickerbockers. This 
was much more amusing than turning over dusty 
files and registers. But all good things come to 
an end, and after some pleasant hours I had 

* A temporary hall built for the occasion, of mats and 
bamboos, gaily adorned with flowers and curtains and paper 
ornaments. 



MANDALA.Y 279 

reluctantly to obey the call of duty. In the end, 
I breakfasted at 5 o'clock tea. There is a sequel 
to the story. On my return to Mandalay I received 
a petition signed by the girls of one of the troupes. 
It was more clement than the petition of Salome. 
The memorialists had danced, and I had been 
pleased to look and express approval. Such poor 
skill as they had was due to the training of their 
saya.* This worthy man had fallen on evil days. 
By the craft and subtlety of his enemies, he had 
been wrongfully prosecuted for embezzlement, un- 
justly convicted, and barbarously sentenced to im- 
prisonment. If he stayed in durance, his lessons 
would be forgotten, and his pupils would be able 
to dance no more. Would I kindly, as a personal 
favour to them, order his instant release ? The 
impulse of the natural man was to grant on the 
spot this ingenuous gracefully worded request. 
Hardening my heart, I yet examined the record of 
the trial with every desire to find a reason for 
intervention. Alas ! I could not convince myself 
that the saya was an injured innocent. All that 
the girls got by their memorial was a civil answer, 
in which I tried to explain why their request could 
not be granted. I hope they gave me credit for the 
wish to help them. 

It should be a truism, but is too seldom recognized, 
that the less the higher Courts interfere, especially 
on technical grounds, the better. Now and then, 
however, it was pleasing to be able of one's own 
motion to throw open the prison gates. Very 

* Teacher, 



280 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 

gratifying it was to set at liberty a man sentenced 
to a long term of imprisonment for exceeding the 
right of private defence against an armed robber. 
To me he seemed deserving of reward rather than 
punishment. I doubt if any act of my oiEcial life 
gave me greater pleasure than restoring a young 
woman to freedom. Inspecting a gaol, I found a 
young Burmese girl, the solitary occupant of the 
woman's side. In an agony of grief at her husband's 
sudden death she had tried to commit suicide. For 
this heinous crime she had been sentenced to im- 
prisonment for three months. On her ready promise 
not to do it again, I was able to release her at once. 

For a few weeks in 1899, by arrangement with 
Mr. F. S. Copleston, C.S., who, solely for my con- 
venience, changed places with me, I held the office 
of Judicial Commissioner of Lower Burma, a thank- 
less post, of which the work exceeded my capacity. 

In 1900 the Chief Court of Lower Burma was 
established, Mr. Copleston becoming the first Chief 
Judge. The selection was vehemently criticized, 
the local Bar and Press clamouring for the appoint- 
ment of a barrister and for Mr. Copleston's head on 
a charger. I should like to explain the reasons 
which may be urged in support of the appointment 
of a civilian. The judicious skipper will perhaps 
be warned, and avoid the next page or two. It is 
open to argument that there should not be any 
civilian Judges; that, as in England, all Judges should 
be barristers trained in forensic practice. This 
argument is not seriously advanced by anyone 
conversant with the conditions, and need not be 



MANDALAY 281 

traversed at length. But the situation may be 
briefly stated. From the beginning of their service, 
civilians are constantly doing judicial work, always 
criminal, generally civil. In the five-and-twenty 
years or so that pass before they are likely to enter 
a High or Chief Court, those who have any aptitude 
or inclination for legal studies have had abundant 
experience and have acquired a good stock of learn- 
ing. Where there is a division between the execu- 
tive and judicial branches, certain officers specialize 
almost exclusively. Civilians of my own standing 
had even an earlier training. During their term 
of probation law formed a prominent part of 
their reading. Periodical examinations tested 
their proficiency, and they had also to attend 
Courts and prepare notes of cases. They saw in 
practice the daUy working of Courts under the 
presidency of the best Judges and magistrates in 
England. A selected candidate who failed at the 
Final Examination to qualify in law was ruthlessly 
rejected, excluded for ever from the paradise of the 
Civil Service. It is thought by some not unintelli- 
gent persons that in the trial of civil and criminal 
causes it is an advantage for the Judge to have 
knowledge of the language, customs, and character 
of the people concerned. Apart from this, every 
High and Chief Court in India has civilian Judges, 
by common consent as well qualified as their barrister 
colleagues. So much for the appointment of any 
civilians as Judges. Now for the question of the 
Chief Judge. In the Chief Court of Lower Burma, 
with which we are immediately Qoncerned, in forensic 



282 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

business the Chief Judge has no more weight or 
authority than any of his puisne brothers. Only 
when aU the Judges are sitting as a Bench, and 
when they are equally divided, has the Chief Judge 
a casting-vote. As yet that instance has not hap- 
pened. Ordinarily, in court the Chief Judge is on 
terms of exact equality with his colleagues. As a 
member of a Bench he can be outvoted by his 
juniors. His decision as a single judge can be con- 
sidered, modified, or overruled by a Bench, of which 
he may or may not be a member. So far as judicial 
work is concerned, every objection to the appoint- 
ment of a civilian as Chief Judge can be urged with 
equal force to the appointment of any civilians as 
Judges. But the work is not exclusively judicial. 
It includes also administrative functions. The Chief 
Court initiates or advises upon many matters con- 
nected with the judicial administration. All subor- 
dinate Judges and magistrates, most of them 
Burmans, are under its supervision. In this branch 
of the duties of the Court the leading part is neces- 
sarily taken by the Chief Judge. It is therefore 
desirable that he should have administrative experi- 
ence, and, if possible, good knowledge of the people. 
For these reasons public interest is better served by 
the selection of a civilian as Chief Judge. I do not 
care to discuss the vulgar suggestion, not seriously 
made by any decent person, that civilian Judges are 
more likely to be subservient to Government than 
barristers. No one believes this ; nor would it 
apply particularly to the Chief Judge, who, as I 
have said, has no more power judicially than his 



MANDALAY 283 

colleagues. The only sound rule is for Government 
to appoint as Chief Judge the man believed to be 
best qualified for the office, whether civilian or 
barrister, bearing in mind that administrative as 
well as purely legal qualifications are requisite. 

Some time ago there was an agitation for the 
establishment of a High Court for Burma in place 
of the Chief Court and Judicial Commissioner. No 
doubt Judges of the Chief Court should receive the 
same pay as Judges of a High Court. They do 
exactly the same work, and are of the same standing. 
Apart from this, in my humble judgment, the estab- 
lishment of a High Court would be an unmixed evil. 
Upper Burma is not ripe for even the mild sway of 
the Chief Court. For both litigants and Judges it is 
better to remain under the sympathetic control of 
the Judicial Commissioner, whose learning is tem- 
pered by sympathy with the people. It would also 
be disastrous for suitors from Upper Burma to have 
to come to Rangoon, practically a foreign city, 
instead of Mandalay, where they are at home. 
Besides these objections, the establishment of a 
High Court would involve the appointment on every 
occasion of a barrister Chief Justice, which I hope 
I have shown to be inexpedient. As puisne Judges, 
barristers would be sent from England. One need 
not believe spiteful stories of political jobs, and one 
may respect many Judges of High Courts ; but it 
cannot be contended that an Indian career now 
attracts the pick of the English Bar, men in first- 
class practice or with good prospects. Recent 
experience has, I trust, quenched whatever desire 



284 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

there may have been for the establishment of a 
High Court in Rangoon. But enough of con- 
troversy. 

At the end of 1898 Lord Elgin visited Burma, on 
the very eve of his departure from India. 

In the last few months of my last residence in 
Mandalay, no suitable house being available, I 
occupied my old quarters in the Palace, with the 
White Pavilion* opposite. Except for the Club on 
the western side and a few offices, the Palace was 
untenanted. Burmans ranged it at will, much 
interested in pacing its corridors and examining its 
stately rooms. They certainly did not regard the 
Palace with awe or reverence, but were well pleased 
to satisfy their curiosity. On feast days crowds 
came to picnic in the gardens and loitered in my 
courtyard. All climbed up the Queen's Tower, and 
aU counted the steps as they descended. At night, 
save for a few watchmen, most of the Palace was 
left in solitude. Very striking was the effect as 
one's footsteps sounded hollow on the boarded floors, 
while the tropic moon flooded the columned arcades 
with unearthly light. Revolving many memories and 
picturing many scenes of bygone days, I traversed 
the deserted halls. 

At the end of 1900, the day after the completion 
of my obligatory service in India, I went on furlough, 
free to retire at the end of two years. Mr. Harvey 
Adamsonf succeeded to the appointment. 

* Seep. 115. 

+ Sir Harvey Adamson, K.C.S.K, Lieutenant-Governor of 
Burma, formerly Member of the Council of the Governor- 
General. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE CHIEF COURT— LAST YEARS IN BURMA 

After spending rather more than a year in Europe, 
I was tempted back to Burma by the offer of the 
post of Chief Judge in succession to Mr. Copleston, 
who retired from the Service. I held the office 
for three years, from 1902 to 1905. These are years 
of pleasant memory, mainly on account of the very 
cordial relations with my colleagues, and especially 
the kindness and friendship of the barrister Judges. 
Of the Bar also I have a grateful remembrance. Its 
members were pleased to speak appreciatively of me 
on my departure. I risk the double edge. 

The most interesting event of these years was the 
Durbar at Delhi held by Lord Curzon on New Year's 
Day, 1903, to celebrate the Coronation of His 
Majesty King Edward VII. I do not propose to 
tell a twice-told tale by describing the Durbar and 
its attendant ceremonies. But a brief reference 
may be permitted. A splendid pageant was the 
State Entry, with its long line of richly caparisoned 
elephants, its dazzling array of Chiefs in gorgeous 
vestments, seen by thousands from the terraces of 
the Jamma Musjid. Glorious and soul-stirring was 
the Durbar itself, with all the pomp of heraldry and 

285 



286 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

blazonry of colour. Perhaps the most moving 
incident was the appearance of a body of Mutiny 
veterans, conspicuous among them white-haired men 
of many Indian races who had been faithful to their 
salt. The Shan chiefs, humble folk among the 
stately Indian Rajas, were yet in their grotesque 
attire a picturesque feature of the State Entry, and 
attracted notice as they paid homage at the Durbar. 
Not soon to be forgotten was the review of native 
retainers, where the followers of many Chiefs dis- 
played curious customs and equipment handed down 
from remote antiquity. Perhaps the most charming 
ceremony was the State Ball in the Diwan-i-Am 
(with supper in the Diwan-i-Khas), where Europeans 
and Indians, gleaming with gold and jewels and 
radiant colour, flashed and glittered in the historic 
halls of the Moguls. The conception of the Durbar 
and of the incidents grouped round that memorable 
scene was worthy of the great event which they 
celebrated. The Burma camp was, as usual, 
admirably arranged and managed ; the griffins, 
which characteristically guarded the gateway, a 
piece of Burma set down in the Punjab plain. 
The guests hospitably entertained there owe a debt 
of gratitude to Sir Frederic and Lady Fryer and 
His Honour's able and courteous staff for many 
pleasant days. That fortnight remains in my mind 
as a charming episode. 

In 1905, Lord Curzon appointed me to be 
Lieutenant-Governor in succession to Sir Hugh 
Barnes, who went to the Council of India. Sir 
Harvey Adamson became Chief Judge. 



LAST YEARS IN BURMA 287 

Early in 1906 the Province was honoured by the 
visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Their 
Royal Highnesses were received with unbounded 
enthusiasm by all classes and races in Burma. Their 
gracious kindness and consideration had the happiest 
effect in exciting the loyalty of the Burmese people. 
To Rangoon and Mandalay, Shan chiefs and many 
strange folk from remote hills and valleys, Chins, 
Kachins, Karens, Was, Padaungs, Bres, flocked to 
do homage. Proceeding down the river to Prome 
in a steamer fitted up by the Flotilla Company, 
Their Royal Highnesses saw a great deal of the 
country in a short time. The memory of their 
visit wiU not fade from the minds of those privileged 
to see them, and will be handed down as a glowing 
tradition to posterity. 

Next year the Duke and Duchess of Connaught 
and Princess Patricia came to Burma, and were 
welcomed with acclamation. Their Royal High- 
nesses visited Rangoon, Mandalay, and Pagan, 
thus seeing the most interesting places in the 
Province. 

In 1907 the Viceroy, Lord Minto, with Lady 
Minto, paid us a visit, and spent nearly a month 
in Burma. Their Excellencies saw Rangoon, Man- 
dalay, Lashio, Myitkyina, Bhamo, Pagan, and 
Prome. Coming, like Lord Curzon, early in his 
term of office, Lord Minto obtained an insight into 
the conditions of Burma, and became interested in 
the Province. The most memorable incident of his 
visit was the Durbar held by His Excellency in the 
Eastern Hall of Audience in the Palace at Man- 



288 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

dalay, the first public ceremony held there since 
Lord Dufferin's Levee in 1886. 

Although to Lord Curzon I owed my appoint- 
ment as Lieutenant-Governor, I was not in Burma 
at the time of his visit, nor was it my privilege to 
serve directly under him for many months. Most 
illustrious of the eminent statesmen who have held 
the high office of Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon left, 
regretted by aU who had at heart the interests of the 
Empire and the good of the people. It is presump- 
tuous of me to attempt any appreciation of his work 
or to raise my feeble voice in eulogy. Yet, having 
served under him, I cannot be altogether silent. 
Lord Curaon set the example of the loftiest ideal. 
Inspiring the heartiest enthusiasm in those brought 
into personal relations with him, he spared no pains 
to raise the standard of efficiency, to reform abuses, 
to promote the well-being of the people of India. 
When the dust of controversy shall have been laid, 
the historian will see clearly, in true perspective, 
how noble a task he accomplished in the years, all 
too few, of his Viceroyalty. 

So long as Burma remains a Province of India, 
her geographical position will place her at a dis- 
advantage in comparison with other Provinces. 
Members of Council pay sparing and infrequent 
visits, and seldom have any knowledge of the 
country and the people. Nor has the Lieutenant- 
Governor many opportunities of visiting the head- 
quarters of Government. Only once, towards the 
end of my term of office, did I go to Calcutta. 
While I was at Government House, except one 



LAST YEARS IN BURMA 289 

Member who came on a private excursion, giving 
me no warning of his coming, and whom I never 
saw, only two Members of Council, Sir Denzil 
Ibbetson,* and Mr. W. L. Harvey, came to Burma. 
It was a pleasure and a privilege to make the 
acquaintance of Sir Denzil Ibbetson. His coming, 
though unavoidably deferred till the last moment, 
was of advantage to the Province. The same may 
be said of Mr. Harvey's visit. Sir Denzil Ibbetson 
and Mr. Harvey were lost to India soon afterwards. 
Both were men of character, ability, and distinction, 
whom we could ill spare. 

Distance and the pressure of overwhelming ofl&cial 
cares kept away the Financial Member, t This was 
specially to be regretted. For the new Provincial 
Settlement, cynically styled a Contract, was dis- 
cussed and determined. The debate was one-sided, 
and recalled the schoolboys' tag : " Si rixa est, ubi 
tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum." 

Burma fared badly in this unequal contest, where 
the decision rested solely with the Supreme Govern- 
ment. The situation may be described in popular 
terms. Apart from local funds, revenue and ex- 
penditure in India are divided into Imperial and 
Provincial. All the revenue is raised in the Prov- 
inces, the Government of India having no separate 
estate. Imperial expenditure, including the cost 

* The late Sir Denzil Ibbetson, K. C.S.I. , Lieutenant-Governor 
of the Punjab. 

+ The late Sir Edward Baker, K. C.S.I., afterwards Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, whose early death we have had but lately 
to deplore. 

19 



290 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BUEMA 

of the Central Government, the army, and Home 
charges, has to he met by contributions from the 
Provinces. Certain heads of revenue are Imperial, 
others provincial ; others are divided between the 
two. It is right and fair that Burma as well as 
other Provinces should contribute to Imperial needs. 
Only very foolish people believe that the Govern- 
ment of India depends upon Burma for its livelihood, 
so to speak. The poor old milch-cow has been 
trotted out too often, and has become a wearisome, 
time-worn beast. In fact, the contribution paid by 
Burma is actually less than that paid by the richer 
Provinces. At the same time it is true that the 
contribution from Burma is greater in proportion to 
its population than that of any other Province, and 
that from Burma alone the annual subvention tends 
to increase. It may be admitted, as is perhaps the 
case, that the settlement with Burma was made on 
the same lines as those of other Provinces, that the 
proportion of its revenues taken by India is much 
the same as the proportion taken elsewhere. What 
people in Burma feel is that this is unfair. When 
our settlement was made we were still in a back- 
ward state, ill-equipped with roads and buildings, 
with many needs as yet unsupplied. Other Prov- 
inces were far more advanced, and had less necessary 
expenditure to incur. Moreover, the cost of public 
works in Burma is twice as high as in other parts of 
India. If, therefore, we are to be treated like other 
Provinces, we ought to have more liberal terms. So 
much is taken from Burma that not enough is left 
for public works and other expenditure necessary to 



LAST YEARS IN BURMA 291 

our expansion. We also believe that this is a short- 
sighted policy, and that liberal expenditure in Burma 
would benefit Imperial and Provincial revenues alike. 
Stated in few words, this is the case for Burma, 
based on facts available to the public, without refer- 
ence to unpublished records. 

Another disadvantage under which Burma labours 
is the application of Indian principles and precedents. 
While Burma is part of India, no doubt the system 
of administration and the main lines of policy must 
be the same as in other Provinces. But in details, 
in matters where our conditions differ essentially 
from those of India, it is unreasonable that we should 
be bound by Indian rules. A Member of Council 
who has never seen Burma thinks nothing of over- 
ruling* the Local Government on points of purely 
local concern. Again, general orders framed after 
consideration of the circumstances of Indian Prov- 
inces are applied to Burma, where conditions are 
totally unlike. In this way much needless labour 
and waste of valuable time are caused. I remember 
one Commission which contained no representative 
from Burma, and which never came near the Prov- 
ince. It issued an elaborate and extremely valuable 
Report. For years afterwards poured forth a flood 
of Resolutions on the Commission's recommendations 
which we were required to consider and discuss, 
though none of them could possibly apply to our 
local conditions. No real harm was done, but time 
and labour were spent in vain. As Burma differs 

* I am aware that he has to obtain the Viceroy's concurrence ; 
but he has the advantage of the last word. 



292 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

essentially from India, and as it is impossible that 
Burma should be adequately represented in all de- 
partments of the Government of India, the natural 
conclusion is that the Local Government should 
be allowed a much freer hand, and should be 
trusted to know what is best in matters of local 
concern. 

While on the subject of disadvantages I may 
mention a real grievance. It may seem mainly to 
aifect the Civil Service ; really it is of vital impor- 
tance to the Province. I refer to the very small 
share which Burma has in appointments under the 
Imperial Government. As I myself obtained in my 
service more than I could have expected, I shall not 
be thought to speak from any personal feeling. In 
the fifty years since Burma has been a Province she 
has supplied to India one Member of Council, two 
Deputy-Secretaries, one Agricultural Adviser (for a 
short term), and two or three Under-Secretaries, 
all within the last seven years. No civilian from 
Burma has ever been chosen to administer another 
Province. It does not seem likely that of civilians 
in Burma, chosen in the same way as other civilians, 
none has been fit for such an appointment. It is 
needless to conjecture reasons for this apparent 
neglect. I suggest that Burma should receive a 
fair share of high offices, so that service in Burma 
may cease to be unpopular, and that her needs and 
conditions may be properly appreciated by the 
Supreme Government. 

During my term of office the Royal Conamission 
on Decentralization came to us. Needless to say, 



LAST YEAES IN BURMA 293 

Burma had no representative among its members. 
That could hardly be expected. Bombay had two 
members, Madras and Bengal one each. The Punjab 
and the United Provinces were omitted. Except 
Mr. Dutt, a Bengali civilian who served in the 
regular line and seems to have attained no special 
distinction, the Commission included no one who 
had any acquaintance with the system of govern- 
ment by Lieutenant-Governors, and only one. Sir 
F. P. Lely, who had served in a non-regulation 
Province. The constitution of the Commission was 
clearly reflected in the Report which regarded all 
India as administered under the Presidency system, 
and therefore in the hands of Secretaries and Mem- 
bers of Executive Councils. The Commission learnt 
little of Burma during its somewhat hasty visit. 
Nor was it likely that permanent benefit would 
result from the labours of a body which set out to 
investigate and reform the whole administrative 
system of India in the course of a cold-weather 
tour. 

The reforms of Councils devised by Lord Morley 
or Lord Minto were discussed and carried into efiect 
during these years. These reforms were not needed 
in Burma ; there was no popular demand for them ; 
they were entirely unsuited to the Province. But 
Burma must lie on the procrustean bed. I am 
thankful to say, that for a time at least, the 
Province was saved from popular elections. In a 
country where, after thirty years, it is rare to find 
Europeans or Burmans of position willing to take 
an interest even in municipal elections, that would 



294 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

be the last straw. But the Council had to be 
enlarged, a non-official majority secured, and the 
elective system introduced at least to the extent of 
enabling one body, the Burma Chamber of Commerce, 
to elect* its member. And aU the detailed rules of 
procedure, of Budget discussions, of interpellations, 
and the like, framed for other Provinces, have been 
applied to Burma. It may safely be said that no 
one in Burma is a penny the better for these innova- 
tions, and that the great heart of the people remains 
unmoved. The net result is some waste of time and 
public money owing to the appointment of more 
official members, worthy gentlemen who have to 
spend hours in Council when they should be doing 
their work. We were quite as well off under the 
old Council and the old rules. The situation would 
be ludicrous if it were not pathetic. 

The objects which I regarded as most important, 
and which, to the best of my ability, I pursued, 
were the encouragement of efficiency in the Services, 
insistence on the principle of selection to which the 
Government of India often drew attention, and the 
improvement of the position and prospects of officers 
of various departments, particularly but not ex- 
clusively, those manned by people of the country. I 
had the pleasure of making the first appointment of 
a Burman as a District Judge, my old friend Maung 
Aung Zan.t K.S.M., being the officer selected. Two 
posts of Deputy Commissioner were obtained for the 

* I need hardly say (as I proposed it) that I regard this as a 
sound measure. 

t See note on p. 295. 



LAST YEAES IN BURMA 295 

Provincial Service, the first Burman to hold that 
ofEce being Maung Myat Tun Aung, C.I.E., K.S.M., 
T.D.M. Later I appointed the first two Burman 
Superintendents of Police, Maung Tun Min,* T.D.M., 
and Maung Shwe Tha,* I.S.O., K.S.M., A.T.M. 
These appointments enabled us to solve a long- 
standing problem, the officering of Kyauk-pyu. 
This district was notoriously unhealthy for any but 
natives of the locality, so that it was difficult to 
keep European officers there for any length of time. 
With one Arakanese as Deputy Commissioner and 
another as Superintendent of Police, both accustomed 
to the climate, it was possible to have the district 
efficiently administered without sacrificing anyone's 
health. For some time Kyauk-pyu was administered 
solely by native officers. The experiment seems to 
have been successful ; both the Deputy Commissioner 
and the Police Superintendent having recently been 
decorated. I take the opportunity of reminding my 
Burmese friends, who justly cite me as desirous of 
seeing them placed in higher offices, that one 
essential condition is that by character and ability 
they should prove their fitness for advancement. I 
am the last man in the world to wish Burmans pro- 
moted merely because they are Burmans, without 
regard to their qualifications. " After these things 
do the Gentiles seek." 

A successful effiart was made to equalize the pay 
and prospects of the higher ranks of the Judicial 
Service, so as to attract men of at least average 

* Some of these officers are Arakenese, one a Talaing ; all 
are natives of Burma. 



296 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BUEMA 

ability and ambition to that branch. The Provincial 
Judicial Service vras organized on a proper basis, so 
that officers who chose or wev6 posted to it might 
receive the same pay as those on the Executive side. 
The important Land Records Department v?as re- 
organized and placed on a proper basis as regards 
pay, and a system of recruitment and training was 
devised. To my lot, assisted by Colonel S. C. F. 
Peile, CLE., the experienced Inspector-General, fell 
the task of introducing most of the changes follow- 
ing the Report of the Police Commission. In this 
matter I think we might have been allowed more 
liberty to consult local conditions. After all, the 
Report was not verbally inspired. 

I had much at heart the enactment of legislation 
for restraining the alienation of land and for the 
protection of tenants. I was unsuccessful in effect- 
ing either of these objects before my retirement. I 
have no doubt that gradually but surely the Burman 
is being squeezed off the land, and that if, as seems 
likely, the proposed legislation is abandoned, the 
land will fall into the hands of non-agriculturists 
and natives of India. Free trade in land as in other 
things may be good. From an economic point of 
view the position is probably sound. More rice wiU 
be grown for export ; more land revenue and customs 
duty will be garnered. But there are other con- 
siderations. The standard of living will be lowered. 
The deterioration of the Burmese race which will 
inevitably accompany their divorce from the land 
will be a subject for regret when it is irremediable. 
Similarly, tenants in Burma are rapidly increasing 



LAST YEAES IN BUEMA 297 

in numbers. There, as elsewhere, they need protec- 
tion. The solace of my disappointment was the 
progress of the co-operative credit movement under 
the fostering care of Mr. A. E. English, CLE. 
This movement will afford a great deal of help to 
the Burman cultivator. If it spreads to a sufl&cient 
extent, it may even obviate the need of agrarian 
legislation. 

Among the pleasantest as well as the most bene- 
ficial duties of the Lieutenant-Governor is the making 
of tours in aU parts of the Province. These journeys 
bring the head of the local Government into touch 
with officers of all grades and departments, as well 
as with the people. Not the least charming in- 
cidents associated with them are the receptions at 
every halting-place of importance, where the towns- 
folk offer a hearty welcome in their own fashion, 
and tender loyal addresses. Some of these recep- 
tions were elaborately and magnificently staged, 
with presentation of flowers, with dance and music, 
with triumphal arches, with decorated streets. 
Without meaning to be invidious, I think receptions 
at Mandalay, Pegu, Akyab, and Bassein, where I 
was charmed to meet many old friends, stand out 
in my memory as conspicuous. The addresses 
presented on these occasions were often gracefully 
worded. Besides a profusion of loyal sentiments 
and good wishes, they usually stated matters of 
local interest for which the benevolent attention of 
Government was sought, the need of a new school, 
waterworks, sanitation, as the case might be. In 
one address my wife was gratified by being styled 



298 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

my " august consort."* Except the Chin Hills, the 
Hill districts of Northern Arakan and Salween, and, 
I am ashamed to say, Tharrawaddy, which was 
unaccountably neglected, I visited all the districts 
as well as the Northern and Southern Shan States. 
Kyaingt6n (Kengtung), across the Salween, was an 
object of unfulfilled desire, and a projected ride to 
Namkham was not realized. 

To Mogok I went for the purpose of investing 
the young Sawbwa of Mongmit with the administra- 
tion of his State. At a very early age the young 
Chief was taken in hand, and placed in charge of 
the Rev. J. N. Cushing,t the venerable head of the 
Baptist Mission in Rangoon, and one of the first of 
Shan scholars. Dr. Cushing received him into his 
own house, and treated him as a son. When of 
suitable years, the future Sawbwa was sent to a 
district for training in judicial and executive work. 
Not tUl he was of ripe age, and had given evidence 
of steadiness of character, was he allowed to assume 
charge of his State. He received his Sanad in full 
Durbar, and with it much good advice. With an 
experienced Burman officer as his principal Assistant, 
and under the effective supervision of the Deputy 
Commissioner, Mr. E. C. S. George, the young Chief 

* I must not be thought to regard these addresses with levity. 
I appreciated them highly, and have preserved them all. 

t I have elsewhere paid my humble tribute of respect to 
Dr. Cushing's memory. The first person to join with me in 
lamenting his loss was the Right Reverend Bishop Cardot, of 
the Roman Catholic Church. Our own Bishop was not back- 
ward in expressing his sorrow and appreciation. In Burma, at 
least, there is some unity among Christians. 



LAST YEARS IN BURMA 299 

has done well, and has shown zeal and intelligence 
in the management of his State. I think the 
impressions of his early years have not faded. At 
the time of his investiture his marriage was cele- 
brated — a pleasing ceremony which I was privileged 
to attend. At Mogok the usual strenuous round of 
duty and pleasure, incident to the inspection of a 
district headquarters with a vigorous Deputy Com- 
missioner, filled days and nights. Up at six to ride 
round and visit local institutions, business occupied 
the day ; at about five in the evening amusements 
began, and lasted till the small hours. Carrying 
very pleasant memories, a tired party reached 
Maingl6n, on the march back to May-m^o. Most 
of the route lay along a well-graded hiU-road, 
aligned and made by the Public Works Officer of 
Thibaw, a very intelligent Shan. At each halting- 
place comfortable encampments of mat and bam- 
boo had been built by direction of Mr. Stirling,* 
Superintendent, and the Chief, my good friend 
Saw Hke.t 

A charming tour took us the round of the maritime 
districts, Tavoy, Mergui, Akyab, Kyaukpyu, and 
Sandoway, in the R.I.M.S. Dalhousie. We cruised 
in the lovely Mergui Archipelago, a summer sea set 
with countless islands, rivalling in beauty the Inland 
Sea of Japan. Perhaps the most noticeable sight 
was Elephant Island. It stands alone, its green 
slopes narrowing to the sky. At low water we 
approached the shore, our boat with difficulty and 
strenuous effort pushed over sands hardly covered 
* Mr. G. C. B. Stirling, CLE. t See p. 175. 



300 A CIVIL SEEYANT IN BUEMA 

by the shallow sea. So we came to where the 
water deepened, at the mouth of a gloomy cavern. 
Entering, we found a low, winding, rock-roofed 
tunnel, just wide and high enough for our boat, with 
a glimmer of daylight at the far end. Emerging, 
we reached the middle of the island, a still lagoon, 
encircled by smooth marble walls. A magic scene 
from fairyland : a snow-white ring, with an opening 
like the crater of a volcano ; in the midst the purple 
lake. One pictured it as the secret refuge of 
buccaneers, who here might hide in safety. Our 
time for admiring this lovely landscape was limited ; 
too long a stay would have imprisoned us for hours, 
till the tide fell and left the tunnel navigable. 
Working by charts nearly a hundred years old, we 
approached Victoria Point, the farthest outpost on 
the south, bordering on the Siamese State of 
Eenoung. The revival of tin-mining had begun to 
make the place of some importance. Later a wire- 
less telegraph station was established. More recently 
rubber-planting has been tried. 

After a winding course over rocks and shoals, 
through unexplored Shan States and savage hills 
where head-hunting is still fitfully pursued, the 
Chindwin joins the Irrawaddy above Pak6kku. 
Passing between banks clad with dense forest, we 
desecrated with steam and smoke silent reaches 
glamorous with romance. The march of progress is 
gradually dissipating the mist which yet still clings 
to this river of ancient story. Here and there a 
court-house or a military police post marks the 
advance of civilization. Inland the woodman's axe 



LAST YEAES IN BUKMA 301 

resounds in the primeval forest. A coal-mine, one 
of the many promising but faithless ventures of the 
prospector, makes a deep cavern in a hillside. We 
explored it for a considerable way by the light of 
naked, guttering candles ; no Davy lamps in that 
mine. On the Ohindwin are still current stories 
with an old-world ring. There you will see a little 
monastery at the water's edge. Above that point, 
though snakes abound, they have no power to harm. 
On one side of the line thus marked, if a snake 
bites you, prepare to die ; cross the line, the same 
snake may bite you with no worse effect than a 
fleeting sting. Walking through a village, to test 
the story we asked a man if there were many snakes. 
" Oh yes," he replied ; " but, of course, they do no 
harm. I was bitten yesterday." And he showed on 
his leg the mark of recent fangs. The reason of this 
interesting difference is comparatively simple. Once 
upon a time the countryside was ravaged by a 
gigantic serpent. The King himself, in the fearless 
old fashion, gave battle to the snake, and, after a 
desperate struggle, slew it and cut it in half. The 
two pieces he flung into the river. Now, the head- 
piece, where are the poisonous fangs, floated down- 
stream ; the tail-piece, where there are none, floated 
upwards. You see the result. If you go farther 
north, you will come to a village where the people 
have the fascinating power of turning themselves 
into tigers. We went no higher than Homalin, 
and missed the chance of verifying this attractive 
legend. It was poor compensation to land at 
Thangthut, the capital of a very small Shan Chief, 



302 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

to find a stack of polo-sticks in his haw,* and to 
learn that Manipuris, the originators of the game, 
sent teams to play polo with the Sawbwa and his 
staff. 

Talking of tigers reminds me of one or two stories 
which may find a place here. Real tigers are common 
to many parts of the Province. One day a tiger 
came upon two little girls in the jungle, seized the 
younger, and was trotting off with her. The elder 
sister, a girl of about twelve, took off her tameinf 
and flapped the tiger about the face till the aston- 
ished beast dropped the child and fled. The truth 
of this story is proved by the fact that Government 
gave the girl a silk tamein in recognition of her 
courage and presence of mind. Another time, quite 
recently, a woodman was seized by a tiger. He cut 
at him with his da J till the tiger dropped him and 
retreated. The man, enraged at being attacked, 
followed and slashed him again, his only weapon 
being a long .wood-cutting knife. Another authentic 
story, of an earlier date, "tells how a tiger was killed 
by a man armed only with da. We may hesitate 
to believe people who tell us that Burmans are not 
brave. 

The American who declined to go to the Taj 
Mahal because he hq,d not come to India to see 
tombs, when he came to Burma would not look at 
Pagan because he had not come to see pagodas. 
Described once for all by Sir Henry Yule in " The 
Court of Ava," in its way Pagan is one of the most 

* House of a Shan Chief. 

t Skirt. I Knife, of any size. 



LAST YEAES IN BUEMA 303 

remarkable places in the world. The seat of an 
ancient dynasty, it lies along the bank of the 
Irrawaddy below Myingyan. Pagodas, literally for 
miles and in hundreds, fill the landscape as far as 
eye can see. All varied styles of Buddhist archi- 
tecture, with many traces of Hindu influence, are 
represented. Here is the renowned Ananda Pagoda, 
among the most famous of Buddhist shrines. Here, 
too, are solemn, stately figures of the four Buddhas * 
who have yet visited the earth. As the ages roll 
by, other Buddhas will descend for the regeneration 
of the world. 

Not very far below Pagan, illustrative of a strange 
mingling of ancient and modern, is the most pro- 
ductive of the oil-fields of Burma, that of Yenan- 
gyaung. In 1886, reviewing the prospects of mineral 
discovery in Upper Burma, we prophesied before we 
knew. We went nap, as might be said, on coal, and 
took but little interest in petroleum. The develop- 
ment of the oil-fields is the most striking feature of 
the economic history of fhe Province for the past 
twenty-five years. The search for coal has been 
uniformly disappointing. The Yenangyaung field 
was worked in former times by crude native methods. 
Into shallow wells dug by hand men went down, 
clad in a sort of diver's costume, and laboriously 
baled out oil with a bucket. The out-turn was com- 
paratively small. The wells were owned by a close 
corporation of local Burmans known as twinzas,t 
who had exclusive hereditary rights. All the oil ex- 

* Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa, Gaudama. 
t Eaters ( = owners) of wells. 



304 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 

tracted had to be sold to the King at a fixed price. 
Of late years the oil-fields have been exploited with 
all the resources of modern science by companies 
who, by grant or purchase, have acquired rights 
over wells and oil-bearing land. The Burma Oil 
Company were pioneers of the industry. It was 
under the auspices of my friend Sir Campbell 
Kirkman Finlay, Managing Director of the company, 
that I twice visited Yenangyaung. One of my visits 
was marked by the spouting of the most productive 
well yet struck in Burma. The oil-field is a busy 
bustling place, covered with tall derricks and giving 
employment to many drillers and mechanics. Side 
by side with modern scientific extraction may be 
seen the primitive native methods still practised. 
Over all is a Warden to enforce the elaborate rules 
necessary to safeguard the field against danger from 
fire and to prevent its premature exhaustion. From 
the wells runs a pipe-line conveying oil for about two 
hundred and seventy-five miles to the refinery at 
Syriam, where a populous town has sprung up. The 
latest report gives the total quantity of petroleum 
produced in Burma as 222,000,000 gallons, a very 
small fraction of the world's production. 

Our tours on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin were 
made in steamers of the Royal Indian Marine and in 
the house-boat already mentioned. Among Indian 
Marine officers I had many friends. One I may 
mention by name, Lieutenant H. R. Bowers, was 
with us on several tours. The son of Captain A. 
Bowers, R.N.R., long resident in Burma, who had 
accompanied Colonel Sladen's mission to Yunnan in 



LAST YEAES IN BUEMA 305 

1868, he had close hereditary associations with the 
Province. From the first he impressed us as an 
officer of great promise, capable and self-reliant. I 
bade him farewell on the eve of his departure, full 
of hope and pride, for the journey whereon he died 
a hero's death among Antarctic snows. His memory 
lives in the hearts of his countrymen. 

My final tour brought me at last to the lovely 
lake of Indawgyi, which I had in vain tried to reach 
in 1894.* From Hopin on the Mu Valley Eailway 
the distance is only some thirty miles, which we 
rode leisurely in three or four easy stages. With 
us were Mr. Hertz, f the very able and distinguished 
Deputy Commmissioner of Myitkyina, and Mr. W. 
Scott, one of his Assistant Superintendents, whose 
knowledge of Kachin language, folklore, and 
customs is extensive and peculiar. Very impres- 
sive is the panorama of the lake, lying in a semi- 
circle of hills, with few traces of civilized intrusion. 
A pagoda here and there on its green banks adds a 
picturesque touch to the scene. We sought but did 
not find the floating islands of which we had heard 
long ago. Indawgyi lies on the border of a fertile 
country once populous, but devastated after a 
Kachin rising not long before the Annexation. It 
is slowly recovering, and as population increases will 
once more be a rich harvest-field. Thence we paid 
a last visit to Myitkyina and the confluence. J More 
precious than the Commissioner, the Lieutenant- 
Governor was not allowed to shoot the rapids. He 

* See p. 250. + Mr. W. A. Hertz, C.S.I. 

t See p. 249. 

20 



306 A CIVIL SEKVANT IN BUEMA 

was induced to sky-t them on a pony. Of the rise 
and progress of Myitkyina I have ah-eady written. 
Then for the last time, with many regrets, we passed 
through the glorious First Defile and bade farewell 
to it for ever. 

It were ungracious to close this discursive record 
without expressing my grateful obligations to those 
who worked with me in the last responsible years of 
my service. No Lieutenant-Governor ever had a 
better personal staff or more capable Secretaries. If I 
take leave to mention Mr. F. C. Gates,* Mr. W. F. 
Rice, C.S.I, Mr. Lionel Jacob,! Mr. E. E. V. 
Arbuthnot, Mr. G. F. Arnold, CLE., Mr. F. Lewi- 
sohn among Secretaries ; Major F. J. Eraser, the late 
Mr. D. Shearme, Captain A. F. S. Hill, E.E., 
Mr. C. S. Pennell, Captain E. L. Caldecott, E.A., 
among officers of the personal Staff, it is not that I 
value less highly the loyalty and good service of 
their colleagues. If I were to mention Commis- 
sioners, district, and departmental officers to whom 
I am indebted, I must name practically the whole 
Commission and plagiarize many pages of the Civil 
List. 

So after a chequered career we bade farewell to 
Burma, fairest and brightest of Eastern lands, the 
memory of whose happy people will always be en- 
shrined in our hearts. 

* Sir Frank Campbell Gates, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. 

t Sir Lionel Jacob, K.C.S.I., too soon carried oft" to be 
Secretary to the Government of India in the Public Works 
Department. 



GLOSSARY 

[Containing only Burmese words used more than once, or not explained in 

text or notes.] 

amat = Minister. 

atu-ma-shi = incomparable. " There is none like her — none." 

bein-sa = opium-eater. 

bo = chief, leader. 

da = a, knife of any sort. 

FAn-she-min = heir-apparent. 

gi/i = great. 

hlutdam = Council of State. 

kala = barbarian, a foreigner from the West. 

kappiya-taga = a lay attendant of a monastery. 

Idn-bya = a somewhat familiar form of address. 

ko-mi = a game of cards. 

ku-tho-daw = royal merit. 

hfaung = monastery. 

kyaung-taga = founder of a monastery. 

maung = vimch. the same as " Mr." 

min = King, lord. 

mingyi = great lord, high official ; in this book, one of the four 

chief Ministers of State. 
min-laung = &n embryo min. 
min-tha = Prince, son of a min. 
Mi-pay a = Queen. 
myp = city, town, township, circle. 
myo-dk = officer in charge of a township, a member of the 

Subordinate Civil Service. 
myo-dk-gavam = My6-6k's wife. 
myo-sa = a title of a Shan chief (in this book). 
myo-thu-gyi = head of a myo or circle. 
myo-mun = town magistrate. 

307 



308 GLOSSARY 

nan \ , 

I = palace. 
nandam) 

nat = a spiritual being. 

ndk-han — Nirvana = the state of rest. 

pa-dauk = a tree yielding excellent timber and bearing lovely 

flowers. 
pa-ya = a pagoda, a sacred image, a title of honour = lord. 
ph-nin = helmsman. 

p6n-gyi = a, monk; literally, ''great glory." 
p6n-na = Hindus of Mandalay, descendants of captives from 

Assam or Manipur. 
prvi =aji assembly, most commonly an entertainment of a 

dramatic nature. 
pya-that=a terraced spire. 
sa-daw = a monk of high position. 
Saw-hwa = a title of a Shan chief. 
sa-ye-daw-gyi = clerks or secretaries of the hlutdaw. 
shtve = gold, golden. 

Su-paya = a Princess of royal birth on both sides. 
taik = a, territorial division, called in English a " circle." 
taik-thu-gyi = headman of a circle. 
tamein=a. woman's skirt. 
taung-ya = hill-cultivation. 
tha-tha-na-baing = head of the monastic Order. 
<AM-g_^« = headman ; literally, "great man." 
twet=a. term applied to a monk who renounces his Order. 
win = a house and grounds. 
rvun = an official title of varying denotation. 
yo-ma = a, range of hills; literally, "backbone." 
za-yat, a rest-house. 
ze-gyo = the great bazaar or market at Mandalay. 



INDEX 



Adamson, Colonel C. H. E., 9, 114, 

123, 166, 213, 221 
Adamson, Sir H., 8, 284, 286 
Aitchison, Sir C. U., 18, 26 
Akyab, 297, 299 
Alaungpaya, 2, 107, 108, 216 
Allan-myo, 74 et seg. 
Allen, Mr. C. F. E., 17, 171 
Amarapura, 120, 181 
Annexation of Upper Burma, 140, 

142 
Arakan Pagoda, 121, 197, 200 
Arbuthnot, Mr. R. E. V., 306 
Ardagh, Sir J., 244 
Arnold, Mr. G. F., 306 
Art industries, 63 et seg. 
Atlay, Mr. F., 204 
Atumashi Monastery, 118, 121 
Aung, Maung Myat Tun, 295 
Ava, 106, 129, 130, 132 
Ava, Earl of, 138 
Aw, Bo, 207 

Baber, Mr. C.,222 

Bahadur Shah, 208, 209 

Bakht, Mirza jarashid, 209 

Bakht, Prince Jawan, 209 

Banmauk, 252 

Barnes, Sir H. S., 286 

Bassein, 10, 17, 74, 260, 297 

Baw, Tun, 164 

Bayne, Mr. 0. G., 90, 94, 207, 218 

Beresford, Lord W., 139, 244 

Bernard, Sir C. E., 52, 53, 92, 94, 
95, 104, 114, 115, 116, 125, 134, 
136, 140, 143, 144, 149, 154, 155, 
157, 160, 161, 168, 170, 173, 176, 
182, 189, 257 

Bernard, Mr. J. H., 144 

Bernard-myo, 203 

Bhamo, 170, 211 et seg., 223 239, 
242, 244, 251, 252, 272, 287 

Bigaudet, Bishop, 49 

Boat-races, 61 

Bon, Thandawzin So, 111 



Bower, SirH., 245 

Bowers, Captain A., 304 

Bowers, Lieutenant H. E,, 304 

Boxing, 73 

Brackenbury, Sir H., 244 

Bradford, Sir E., 224 

Bridges, Mr. J. E., 173 

Briscoe, Rev. J. D., 86 

Browning, Colonel H. A., 158 

Buddha, relics of, 199 

Buddhism, 183 et seg. 

Burgess, Mr. 6. D., 18, 19, 20,24, 

51, 81, 90, 92, 95, 99, 156, 217, 

255, 277 
Burma, Lower, disorder in, 137, 221 
Bwa, Maung Ba, 261, 264 
Bya, U.,25 

Caldeoott, Captain E. L., 306 

Cardot, Bishop, 298 

Carew, Sir R. Pole-, 138 

Carey, Mr. B. S., 158, 221 

Carter, Mr. G. M. S., 114, 166, 204 

Carving, wood, 65 

Caste, absence of, 67 

Cattle -theft, 80 

Chamberlain, Sir N., 88, 138 

Chesney, Sir G., 116 

Chess, Burmese, 57 

Chief Court, 280, 285 

Chindwin River, 10, 300 

Chin-16n, 59 

Chin Hills, 170, 221 

Chinese Boundary, 244, 271 et seg. 

Chinese, relations with, 243 

Chinese Shan States, 275 

Chisholm, Mr. M. J., 114 

Cho, Bo, 161, 259, 260 

Churchill, Lord R., 122, 268 

Claims against Government, 169 

Olandeboye, Lord, 138 

Class distinctions, 151 

Clements, Major-General R. A. P., 

129, 133 
Clerk, Sir G., 88 

309 



310 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 



Climate, 85 

Cloney, Mr. E. P., 217 

Cook-figliting, 69 

Collins, Mr. G. G., 14, 106 

Connaught, T.E.H. the Duke and 

Duchess of, 287 
Connaught, H.B.H. Princess Patricia 

of, 287 
Cooke, Colonel "W., 86 
Cooper, Captain, 103 
Co-operative Credit Movement, 297 
Copleston, Mr. F. S., 280, 285 
Coumeuve, Mr. de la, 51 
Cromer, Earl of, 89 
Crosthwaite, Sir C. H. T., 90, 161, 

168, 201, 203, 219, 231. 233, 234, 

257 
Cuningham, Sir W. J., 244 
Curzon, Earl, 286, 287, 288 
Cushing, Bev. J. N., 298 

Daooits, 132, 161 

d'Av&a, M., 30 

Davies, Colonel H. N., 86 

Decentralization Commission, 81, 

292 
Defile, First, 215, 251, 306 

Second, 214 
Delhi, Durbar, at, 130, 284 
Delhi, Eoyal Family of, 208-10 
Deputy Commissioner, position and 

powers of, 23 
Disarmament, 168 
Divorce, 71, 72 

Dobbie, Brigadier-General, 269 
Drever, Captain J. W., 248 
Drinks, intoxicating, 56, 57 
Dufferin and Ava, Marquis of, 138, 

139, 141, 166 
Dufferin and Ava, Marchioness of, 

139, 141 
Dun, Captain E. "W., 178 
Durand, Sir H. M., 138 
Durians, 68 
Dutt, Mr. E. C, 293 

Education, elementary, 184 

Einshemin, 122, 149 

Elgin, Earl of, 284 

Eliott, Mr. L., 213 

Elliott, Sir C, 224 

English, Mr. A. E., 297 

Eyre, Colonel G. S., 106, 123, 259 

Fenwick, Major, 129 
Ferrars, Mr. M. H., 34 
Fforde, Mr. T. F., 5, 123, 166 
ffrench-MuUer, Major J. W. L., 272 



Finlay, Sir C. K., 304 

Fleming, Mr. A. S., 106, 123, 218, 

237 
Football, 59 

Forde, Brigadier-General, 105 
Forest Department, 6 
Fowler, Mr. E. 0., 221 
Fraser, Major F. J., 306 
Fryer. Sir F. W. E., 156, 218, 235, 

237, 256 

Gambling, 57-59 

Gastrell, Colonel E. T., 159 

Gates, Sir F. C, 218, 306 

George, Mr. E. C. S.. 242. 245, 251, 

271, 272, 277, 298 
Gordon. Mr. E., 51 
Grant, General U. S., 32 
Grey, Colonel W. F. H., 86 
Gyaw, Maung Tin, 261, 263, 264 
Gyi, Gaung, 260 

HaU, Mr. Fielding, 217 
Hamilton, Sir I., 138 
Harvey, Mr. W. L., 289 
Hassan, Prince, 152, 210 
Henzada, 10, 261 
Hertz, Mr. H. F., 213. 274 
Hertz, Mr. W. A., 305 
Hildebrand, Mr. A. H., 9, 176, 179, 

226. 227, 233 
Hill, Captain A. F. S., 306 
Hindus and Mahomedans, 234 et seq. 
Hke, Saw, 175, 299 
Hladwe Sadaw, 189 
Hlaingdet, 231 
Hlethin Atwinwun. 166 
Hlutdaw, 118. 122, 123, 134, 143, 

144, 145 
Hlwa, Maung, 129 
Hodgkinson, Mr. G. J. S., 144, 207 
Hopin, 305 
Houghton, Mr. B., 222 

Ibbetson, Sir D., 18, 289 
Ilbert Bill, 92-94 
Imlumshan, 277 
Indawgyi. 305 
Inle, 231 
Insects, 84 
Irrawaddy, passim 
Irrawaddy Division, 260 
Irrigation works, 240 
Irwin, Sir A. M. B., 95, 163 

Jacob, SirL. M., 306 
Jade Mines, 213, 250 
James, Mr. H. W., 83 



INDEX 



311 



Jardine, Sir J., 82 

Jubilee, H.M. Queen Victoria's, 173, 

180 
Judicial Administration, 5 

Kaehin Hills, 170, 211. 214, 221, 

242, 245 
Kachins, 241-242 
Kalaw, 231 
Kale, 226 
Kanaung, 95 
Eansi La, 213 
Kansi Naung, 213 
Karenni, 172, 226 
Katha, 217, 239, 252 
Kaunghmu-daw Pagoda, 135 
Kawlin, 217 
Kawlin Mintha, 148 
Keary, Major-General H. d'U., 129 
Kengtung (Kyaington), 177, 225, 

227, 298 
Kheddah, Elephant, 181 
King Mind8n, 27 et seq., 100, 109, 

125, 148, 149, 166, 169, 180, 216 
King Pagan, 27, 147 
King Thebaw, 29, 107, 108, 109, 118, 

125, 126, 169 
Kinwun Mingyi, 30, 101, 103, 104, 

106, 109, 120, 134, 147, 186, 217, 

267 
Ko, Mr. Taw Sein, 144 
Kuthodaw Paya, 122 
Kyangin, 95 
Kyan-hnyat, 203 
Kyaukmyaung Atwinwun, 86 
Kyaukpyu, 295, 299 
Kyi, Maung Shwe, 6 
Kyimyin Mipaya, 125 

Lacquer-work, 64 

Ladysmlth, 182 

Land Alienation, 296 

Lansdowne, Marquis of, 244 

Lansdowne, Marchioness of, 244 

Lasa, 275 

Lashio, 10, 254 

LaTouohe, Sir J. D., 156 

Lat, Maung, 79 et seq. 

Le, Ma Twe, 180 

Le Quesne, Colonel F. S., 221 

Le, Yindaw Ma, 180 

Ledi Sadaw, 197 et seq. 

Lely, Sir F. P., 293 

Let-pet, 63 

Lewisohn, Mr. F., 306 

Limban Mipaya, 150 

Liu, General, 272 et aeq. 

Lloyd, Surgeon-General 0. E. P., 245 



Loch, Mr., 159 

Longe, Colonel F. B., 272 

Lowndes, Major-General T., 5, 114, 

115, 135 
Lu, Saw, 175 
Lu, Twet Nga, 227 
Lytton, Earl of, 27 

MaoDermott, Mr. B. K. S., 82, 216 

MacDonnell, Lord, 224 

Mackenzie, Sir A., 138, 234, 235. 

255, 256, 257 
Maonabb. Colonel D. J. C. 221, 261 
Macpherson, Sir H., 159 
Mahomedans and Hindus, 235 et seq. 
Maingkaing Myosa, 180 
Maingldn. 173, 299 
Maingt6n, 173 
Mali-kha, 248. 249 
Mandalay, passrni 
Mansi, 252 

Marriage customs, 71, 146 
Matang (Matin), 276 
Mathews, Mr. H. M. S., 158 
Maung, Saw, 232-233 
Mawlamyaing-gyun. 41 
Maxwell, Colonel F. D., 51, 198 
May, Colonel, 178 
Maymyo. 178, 231, 254. 299 
Meiktila Supaya, 149 
Mergui, 299 
Min, Maung Tun, 295 
Minbu, 156 
Mind6n Min, 27 et seq., 100, 109. 

125, 148, 149, 166, 169, 180, 216 
Mingin, Wun of, 111-113 
Minhla, 106, 114, 123 
Ministers, Council of, 145-146 
Minto, Earl of, 149, 287, 293 
Minto, Countess of, 287 
Missions, 49, 50 
Moban, 75 
Mogaung, 213, 250 
Mog8k, 177, 204, 205, 252. 298, 299 
Momien. 214 
Mongmit (Momeik), 298 
Monks, Buddhist, 161, 183 et seq. 
Morley, Viscount, 293 
Morrison, Dr. , 214 
Morton, Captain B., 245 
Moulmein, 10 
Myanaung, 95 et seq. 
Myaungmya, 40, 73 
Myed^, 74 et seq. 
Myelat, 225, 231, 233 
Myingun, Prince, 96, 125, 148 
Myingyau, 106, 114, 123, 129, 134, 

259, 303 



312 A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA 



Myitkyina, 10, 242, 249, 250. 305, 

306 
Myotha, 132-133 
Myothugyis, 153 

Namkham, 177, 298 
Ngapi, 38, 62 

Ngathaing-gyaung, 261, 264 
Moholson, Lord, 188 
Ningyan, 156 
'Nmaikha, 248-249 
Norie, Colonel E. "W. M., 272 
Norman, Brigadier-General, 105 
'Nsentaru, 249 
Nuns, Buddhist, 192 
Nyaung8k Mintha, 30, 148 
Nyaungyan Mintha, 30, 31, 148 
Nyaungywe, 231 et seq. 

0, Maung Shwe, 39 

0, Min, 163 

O'Donuell, Brigadier-General H., 213 

Oil-fields, 303-304 

Oktama, 161 

6n Saw, 233 

Opium, 55 

Pacification of Burma, the, 161, 

202 m., 213 TO. , 219, 333 to. 
Pagan, 106, 123, 141, 287, 302, 

303 
Pagan Min, 27, 147 
Pagan Min, widow of, 147 
Pagoda, Shwe DagSn, 11, 194, 197, 

200 
Pakan Sadaw, 189 
Pakangyi Supaya, 149, 174 
Pak6kkn, 114, 300 
Palace at Mandalay, 117 et seq., 284 
Pantanaw, 36 et seq., 260 
Parents, respect for, 162 
Patriarchal justice, 124 
Pe, Maung, 25 
Pegu, 258, 297 
Pegu Division, 235 
Peile, Colonels. 0. F., 296 
Pennell, Mr. C. S., 306 
Phayre, Sir A., 9, 28, 86, 92, 154, 

204, 260 TO. 
Phayre, Mr. E., 106, 123, 162 
Piloher, Mr. E. H., 7, 86, 87, 134, 

135, 162, 176 
Pinlebu, 218, 252 
Pintha Mintha, 125, 126, 148 
Po, Maung, 82 
Police, 5, 78, 158, 296 

military, 159 
P6nkan, 170, 252 



P6nnas, 146, 163 

Prendergast, Sir H. N. D., 105, 106, 

115, 118, 122, 143 
Pretyman, Sir G., 88 
Primrose, Sir H., 88 
Prome, 10, 114, 189 
Prothero, General M., 159 
Provincial Settlement, 289, 291 
Pwh, 45, 278 
Pyi, Maung, 140 
Pyin, Bo, 216 
Pyinmana, 156, 259 
Pyinmana Mintha, 125, 148 
Pyintha, 177, 254 
Pyinulwin, 177, 178 
1^0, Maung Tet, 81 
Pyuntaza, 222 

Queen Sinbyumashin, 29 
Queen Supayalat, 29, 103, 107, 108, 
109, 110, 115 

Eae, Mr. D. W., 272 
Raikes, Colonel F. D., 221 
Railway, Mandalay - Toungoo, 167, 
224 

Mu Valley, 239 

Southern Shan States, 230 
Eailways, 10 
Eainey-Eobinson, Colonel E. M., 

129, 133 
Eangoou, II et seq. ani passim 

past and present, 18-23 
Eatnagiri, 109 
Eawlings, Mr. A. E., 100 
EebeUions, 270 
Eedman, Captain, 113 
Eegan, Mr., 54, 144 
Eibbentrop, Mr. B., 6 
Eice, Mr. W. F., 306 
Richard, Mr. H. J., 202 
Ripon, Marquis of, 52, 88, 93 
Roberts, Earl, 87, 88, 138, 139, 159, 

169, 173 
Ronak Begam, 209, 210 
Ross, Mr. D., 221 
Euby Mines, 203 et seq., 252 
Eundall, Colonel F. M., 221 

Sad6n, 246, 248 
Sagadaung, 203 
Sagaing, 67, 106, 130, 135, 239 
Saing, Kun, 170 et seq. 
St. Barbe, Mr. H. L., 141 
Salween, 227, 232 
Sandford, Mr. J. D., 5 
Sandoway, 221, 299 
Sayedawgyi, 145 



INDEX 



313 



Soott, Sir J. G., 59, 158, 165, 176, 

179, 226, 227, 267, 268, 277 
Soott, Mr. W., 305 
Scott-Moncrieff, Sir C, 52 
SJs, Hein, 179 
Sliah Zamani Begam, 209 
Shan States, 170, 225 et seq., 275, 

278 
Shana at home, the, 230 n. 
Shaw, Sir G. W., 240 
Shaw, Mr. E. B., 30 
Shearme, Mr. D., 306 
Shiko, 186 n. 
Short, Mr. J., 14 
Shwe Dag3n Pagoda, 11, 194, 197, 

200 
Shwebo, 2, 123, 216, 217, 240 
Shwegu, 215 

Shwehlan Myowun, 123, 165, 266 
Shwelaung, 39 

Si, Myowun U Pe, 123, 124, 143, 152 
Silver-work, 65 
Sima, 241, 245, 271 
Sinbaungw^, 77, 81 
Sinbaungw^, Wun of, 79 
Sinbo, 244, 251 
Sinbyumashin, Queen, 29 
Singaing, 177 
Sinlumgaba, 272, 276 
Sittang Eiver, 10 
Sladen, Sir E. B., 106, 122, 123, 

125, 128, 134, 143, 276, 304 
Smeaton, Mr. D. M., 207, 208, 256 
Snadden, Mr. W. G., 267 
Snakes, 48, 301 
Stedman, Sir E., 176, 178, 219, 

226 
Stedman, Fort, 231, 232, 234 
Stevenson, Mr. R. C, 106, 203 
Stirling, Mr. G. 0. B., 299 
Stone, Major W. E., 260 
Street, Colonel 0. W., 7, 92 
Symes, Sir E. S., 51, 90, 92, 95, 114, 

137, 207, 234, 235, 254 
Symons, Sir W. P., 105, 221 
Su, Chit, 232 

Summers, Mr. E. W. B., 237 
Supayalat, Queen, 29, 103, 107, 108, 

109, 110, 115 
Superstitions, 97 
Sw6, Bo, 161 
Syriam, 304 

Tabet Myosa, 179 

Taingda Mingyi, 29, 86, 103, 134 

Tari, 56 

Taungbaing, 176 

Taung-gwin Mingyi, 162 



Taung-gyi, 232 

Taungya cultivation, 76 

Tavoy, 221, 299 

Tenancy Legislation, 296 

T'eng-yueh, 214, 244 

Tha, Maung Shwe, 295 

Thabeik-kyin, 206 

Tharrawaddy, 222 

Thathanabaing, the, 187, 189-191 

Thaungthut, 301 

Thayazein Mipaya, 150 

Thayetmyo, 74 et seq. 

Thazi, 231 

Thebaw Min, 29, 107, 108, 109, 118, 

125, 126, 169 
Theinni, 176, 225 
Thetpau Mipaya, 150 
Thibaw, Sawbwa of (1), 171 e« seq. 
Thibaw, Sawbwa of (2), 175, 299 
Thibaw, State of, 171, 299 
Thompson, Sir A. E., 7 
Thomson, Mr. A., 144, 147 
Thonzfe, 173. 176, 178, 180 
Ti, Bo, 212 
Tibet, 242, 245, 275 
Tiger stories, 15, 301, 302 
Tin, Maung, 145 
Titoomb, Dr. J. H., 34 
To, Bo, 224 

Todd-Naylor, Mr. H. P., 158, 222 
T6k, Maung, 30, 126 
T6nbo, 176, 254 
Toungoo, 10, 88, 167, 224 
Tuck, Mr. H. N.. 221 
Tucker, Mr. A. H., 258 
Tucker, Mr. H. St. G., 156 
Tun, Maung, 216 
Twomey. Mr. D. H. E., 218, 221 

U, Hla, 161 

Vaccination, 216 
Victoria Point, 300 
Village Law. 219 

W^akSniai 40 

Wales, t!e.H. the Prince and Prin- 
cess of, 181, 233, 287 

Wales, H.E.H. Prince Albert Victor 
of, 224 

Wallace, Sir D. M., 138 

Warry. Mr. W., 272 

White. Sir G. S., 105, 143, 159, 170, 
182 

Wilkinson, Mr. C. J., 5 

Women, Burmese, 68 et seq. 

Wood carving, 65 

Wuntho, 211, 217, 221, 239, 252 



314 A CIVIL SEEVANT IN BURMA 



YamSthin, 259 






Yunnan, 210. 214, 274 


Yan, Shwe. 161 






Yunnan-fu, 224 


Yanaung Mintha, 30, 126 








Yatsauk, 179 






Zan, Maung Aung, 25, 262, 294 


Yenangyaung, 304 






Zibingale, 176-177 


Yenangyauug Mingyi (}), 


126 




Zibingyi. 254 


Yenangyaung Mingyi (2), 


124, 


125, 


Zinath Mahal, Begam, 208-209 


126 






Zinaw, 248 



BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTKKS, GUILDFORD. 



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H IRecorb ot Brfttsb 2)ipIomacg, 

By the Right Hon. LORD NEWTON. 
With Portraits. In Two Volumes. 30s. net. 

The late Lord Lyons was not only the most prominent but the 
most trusted English diplomatist of his day, and so great was the 
confidence felt in his ability that he was paid the unique compliment 
of being offered the post of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 

Lord Newton, who has now undertaken the task of preparing a 
memoir of him, enjoys the advantage of having served under him for 
five years at the Paris Embassy. The interest of this work lies, 
however, less in the personality of the Ambassador than in the highly 
important events in which he played so prominent a part. 

Lord Lyons was the British representative at Washington during 
the period of the Civil War ; subsequently he was Ambassador at 
Constantinople for two years ; and finally he spent twenty years — 
from 1867 to 1887 — as Ambassador at Paris. During the whole of 
this eventful period his advice was constantly sought by the Home 
Government upon every foreign question of importance, and his 
correspondence throws fresh light upon obscure passages in diplomatic 
history. 

In this book will be found hitherto unpublished information relating 



LONDON : EDWARD ARNOLD, 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, W, 



2 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 

io such matters as the critical relations between England and the 
United States during the course of the Civil War ; the political 
situation in France during the closing years of the Second Empire ; 
the secret attempt made by the British Foreign Secretary to avert 
the Franco-German War, and the explanation of its failure ; the 
internal and external policy of France during the early years of the 
Third Republic ; the War Scare of 1875; the Congress of Berlin; 
the Egyptian Expedition ; Anglo-French political relations, and 
many other matters of interest. 

The method selected by the writer has been to reproduce all im- 
portant correspondence verbatim, and it may be confidently asserted 
that the student of foreign politics will find in this work a valuable 
record of modern diplomatic history. 



THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF 
GEORGE WILLIAM FREDERICK, 
FOURTH EARL OF CLARENDON. 

By the Right Hon. Sir HERBERT MAXWELL, Bart. 
In Two Volumes, With Portraits, Demy Bivo. 30s. net. 

Born in the year 1800 and dying in 1870, Lord Clarendon lived 
through a period of social, political^ and economic change more rapid 
probably than had been witnessed in any similar space of time in the 
previous history of mankind. It was his lot, moreover, to wield con- 
siderable influence over the course of affairs, inasmuch as his public 
service, extending over fifty years, caused him to be employed in a 
succession of highly responsible, and even critical, situations. British 
Minister at Madrid at the outbreak and during the course of the Carlist 
Civil War from 1833 to 1839, he was admitted into Lord Melbourne's 
Cabinet immediately upon returning to England in the latter year. 
He was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland throughout the memorable famine 
years, 1847-1852. Relieved of that arduous post, Lord Clarendon 
entered Lord Aberdeen's government in 1852 as Foreign Secretary, 
which office he retained through the Crimean War, and became re- 
sponsible for the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1856. On Lord 
Palmerston's death in 1865, he returned to the Foreign Office, and 
had to deal with the settlement of the " Alabama " claims. 

The annals of the first half of Queen Victoria's reign having been 
pretty thoroughly explored and dealt with by many competent 
writers, the chief interest in these pages will be found in Lord 
Clarendon's private correspondence, which has been well pre- 
served, and has been entrusted to Sir Herbert Maxwell for the 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 3 

purpose of this memoir. Lord Clarendon was a fluent and diligent 
correspondent ; Charles Greville and others among his contem- 
poraries frequently expressed a hope that his letters should some 
day find their way into literature. Sir Arthur Helps, for instance, 
■wrote as follows in Macmillan's Magazine : " Lord Clarendon was a 
man who indulged, notwithstanding his public labours, in an immense 
private correspondence. There were some persons to whom, I 
believe, he wrote daily, and perhaps in after years we shall be 
favoured — those of us who live to see it — with a correspondence 
which will enlighten us as to many of the principal topics of our own 
period." , It is upon this correspondence that Sir Herbert Maxwell 
has chiefly relied in tracing the motives, principles, and conduct , of 
one of the last Whig statesmen. Among the letters dealt with, 
and now published for the first time, are those from Lord Mel- 
bourne, Lord Palmerston, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Derby, M. Thiers, 
M. Guizot, the Emperor Louis Napoleon, etc., and many ladies. 



WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, DUKE OF 

CUMBERLAND, HIS EARLY LIFE 

AND TIMES, 172 1— 1748. 

By the Hon. EVAN CHARTERIS, 

Author of " Affairs of Scotland, 1744-1746." 

With Plans and Illustrations. 12s. 6d. net. [In preparation. 

Mr. Charteris has a gobd subject in " Butcher " Cumberland, not 
■only on account of the historical and romantic interest of his back- 
.ground, but also by reason of the Duke's baneful reputation. 

In the present volume the author has carried the career of 
the Duke of Cumberland down to the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. 
The period includes the Duke's campaigns in Flanders against 
Marshal Saxe, the Battle of CuUoden, and the measures taken for 
the suppression of the Jacobites in Scotland. Mr. Charteris has had 
the exceptional advantage of studying the Cumberland Papers at 
Windsor Castle, and it is largely by the aid of hitherto unpublished 
■documents that he is now able to throw fresh light on a character 
which has been the subject of so much malevolent criticism. At the 
same time the volume deals with the social and political conditions 
.among which Cumberland was called on to play so important a part 
in the life of the nation. These have been treated by the author 
with some fulness of detail. Cumberland, in spite of his foreign 
•origin, was remarkably typical of the characteristics of the earlier 
Georgian period, and an endeavour has been made in the present 
volume to establish the link between the Duke and the politics, the 
jmorals, the aims, and the pursuits of the age in which he lived. 



4 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 

MY ART AND MY FRIENDS. 

The Reminiscences of Sir F. H. COWEN. 

With Portrait. DemySvo. los. 6d. net. 

In the course of a long and distinguished musical career, Sir 
Frederic Cowen has had opportunities of visiting many parts of the 
world, of meeting all the most eminent artists of the last half- 
century, and of amassing material for an extremely diverting volume 
of personal recollections. As a child he enjoyed the privilege of being 
embraced by the great Piccolomini ; as a young man he toured with 
Trebelli, and became acquainted with the famous Rubinstein, with 
Biilow, and with Joachim. In later life he numbered such well-known 
musicians as Pachmann, Paderewski, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and the 
de Reszkes, among his friends. Nor was the circle of his intimates 
entirely confined to the world of music ; he was on terms of the 
closest friendship with Corney Grain, with George Grossmith and 
Arthur Cecil; he capped the puns of Henry J. Byron and Sir 
Francis Burnand ; he laughed at the practical jokes of Toole, at 
the caricatures which Phil May drew for him of his friends. To' 
the public Sir Frederick Cowen is well known as the conductor of 
Covent Garden Promenade and Philharmonic Concerts, as the 
composer of such celebrated songs as " The Better Land " and " The 
Promise of Life," of "The Corsair" and "The Butterfly's Ball." 
In these pages he shows himself to be a keen but kindly student of 
human nature, who can describe the various experiences of his past 
life with a genial but humorous pen. The inexhaustible fund of 
anecdote from which he draws tends still further to enliven an amusing 
and lively volume. 

A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA. 

By Sir HERBERT THIRKELL WHITE, K.C.I. E. 

With 1 6 Pages of Illustrations. Demy 8&o. 12s. 6d. net. 

Sir Herbert Thirkell White, who has but recently retired from the 
post of Lieutenant-Governor of Burma, which he filled with ability 
and distinction, has now written what he modestly calls a " plain 
story " of more than thirty years of official life in India. In this, 
volume are narrated the experiences of an Indian Civilian who has 
devoted the best part of his existence to the service of the Empire 
and is in a position to speak with assurance of the many complicated 
problems with which the white man in India is continually faced. 
Sir Herbert's acquaintance with Burma began in 1878 ; since theiii 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Annotmcements. 5 

he has had every opportunity of judging the peculiar habits, customs, 
and characteristics of the native Burmese, and has been able to 
compile a valuable record of the impressions they have made upon 
his mind. It was his iFate to hold official positions of increasing im- 
portance during the Viceroyalties of Lord Ripon, Lord Dufferin, and 
Lord Curzon ; he was privileged to serve such distinguished chiefs 
as Sir Charles Bernard and Sir Charles Crosthwaite, and witnessed 
that pacification of Burma which the last-named Chief Commissioner 
has described so eloquently in his well-known book on the subject. 
Sir Herbert writes clearly and with knowledge of every aspect of 
Burmese life and character, and this volume of his recollections should 
prove extremely popular among English readers who are interested 
in the government of our Indian Empire and the daily routine of the 
Indian Civil Servant. 



THIRTY YEARS IN KASHMIR. 

By ARTHUR NEVE, F.R.CS.E. 
Wiih Illustrations and a Map. Demy 8vo. 12s, 6d. net. 

The stupendous natural surroundings amidst which they dwell 
have inspired sojourners in Kashmir and other Himalayan countries 
to produce some of the finest books of travel to be found. Among 
them will have to be included in future this book of Dr. Arthur Neve's, 
so effectively does the author reveal the wonders of the land of 
towering peaks and huge glaciers where he has made his home for 
the last thirty years. 

Going out to Kashmir in 1882 under the auspices of the Church 
Missionary Society, Dr. Neve took over the charge of the Kashmir 
Mission Hospital at Srinagur from Dr. Edmund Downes, who was 
retiring, and has stayed there ever since. In his earlier chapters he 
gives some account of the Punjab and Kashmir in the eighties, and 
also of the work of the mission. He then gets to the principal motif 
of the book — the exploring tours and mountaineering expeditions to 
which he has devoted his spare time. Nanga Parbat, Nun Kun, and 
many other Himalayan giants, are within hail of Srinagur, and before 
he has finished with the book the reader will find he has acquired the 
next best thing to a first-hand knowledge of this magnificent country. 
Dr. Neve has also a great deal that is interesting to tell about the 
people of various races and religions who inhabit the valleys, and 
from whom his medical help gained him a warm welcome at all 
times. 

A series of rare photographs gives a pictorial support to the letter- 
press. 



6 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 

SPORT AND FOLK-LORE IN THE 
HIMALAYA. 

By Captain H. L. HAUGHTON. 

(36TH Sikhs.) 

With Illustrations from the Author's Photographs. One Volume. 

Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net. 

Captain Haughton has written a book which should prove a 
welcome addition to the library of every sportsman, as well as being 
of supreme interest to the naturalist and the student of folk-lore. On 
the subject of sport the author writes with that thorough insight and 
sympathy which are the fruits of many years' practical experience 
with rod and rifle, in the jungle, on river-bank or mountain-side. In 
his agreeable society the reader may stalk the markhor or the ibex, 
lightly throw his " Sir Richard " across some Kashmiri trout-stream, 
or lie in wait for the Himalayan black bear on its way to feed ; 
and if the author's description of his many ariiusing and exciting 
adventures and experiences is eminently readable, the value of his 
work is still further enhanced by his intimate knowledge .of natural 
history, and by the introduction of many of those old Indian legendary 
tales that he has, culled from the lips of native Shikaris round the 
camp-fire at night. The book is illustrated throughout with a series 
of remarkably interesting photographs taken by the author in the 
course of his many sporting expeditions. 

RECOLLECTIONS OF A PENINSULAR 
VETERAN. 

By the late Lieut.-Colonel JOSEPH ANDERSON, C.B., K.H. 

With Photogravure Portrait. Demy 8vo. los. 6d. net. 

The late Lieut.-Colonel Joseph Anderson was born in 1790, and 
from the age of fifteen, when he received a commission as Ensign in 
the 78th Regiment, to within a few years of his death in 1877, his 
career was almost continuously as adventurous as it was distinguished. 
In 1806 he saw active service for the first time, when he took part in 
the expedition to Calabria ; in the following year he served in the 
Egyptian Campaign of that date ; and during the Peninsular War he 
fought at the battles of Maida, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, was 
wounded at Talavera, and accompanied Wellington on the retreat to 
the lines of Torres Vedras. A few years later Captain Anderson, now 
a Captain in the York Chasseurs, was sent with his regiment to 
Barbadoes, and was present at the capture of Guadeloupe in 1815. 
He was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Penal Settlement 
at Norfolk Island in 1834, where his humane endeavours to reform 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 7 

the prevailing penal system, and his efforts to quell mutinous convicts, 
met with marked success. Nine years later Colonel Anderson went 
to India to take part in the Mahratta Campaign, and at the Battle of 
Punniar (where he commanded a Brigade) was, severely wounded 
when charging the enemy's guns. After retiring from the Service, 
Colonel Anderson settled down in Australia, and it was at his home 
near Melbourne that these memories were compiled, during the later 
years of a strenuous and active life, for the edification of his family. 
They are written in a simple, unaffected style, which renders them 
peculiarly readable, and form a most instructive record of the 
manners and customs, of the mode of warfare, and the military and 
social life of a past age, and a bygone generation. 

MEMORIES OF A SOLDIER'S LIFE, 

By Major-General Sir H. M. BENGOUGH, K.C.B. 

With Portrait. Demy 8vo. 8s. 6d. net. 

Major-General Sir H. M. Bengough joined the army in 1855, and 
retired in 1898, after more than forty years of distinguished service 
in all quarters of the Empire. His first experience of active warfare 
dates from the Crimea ; later on he took the field in the Zulu War and 
the Burma Expedition of 1885. ^^ <i''.ys of peace he held various 
high commands in India, South Africa, and Jamaica, and finally 
commanded a brigade of infantry at Aldershot. In this volume of 
personal recollections the author narrates the many varied incidents 
and experiences of a long military career and vividly describes the 
campaigns in which he took part. He also gives an interesting 
account of his adventures in the realm of sport — pig-sticking, tiger- 
shooting, and pursuing other forms of game in India and elsewhere ; 
subjects upon which a long experience enables him to write with 
expert knowledge. It will be strange indeed if so interesting an 
autobiographical volume from the pen of a deservedly popular 
soldier and sportsman fails to appeal to a wide public. 

ZACHARY STOYANOFF- 

pages from tbe Hutobiograpb^ of a Bulgarian 
Jnsurgeiit. 

Translated by M. POTTER. 

' One Volume. Demy 8vo. los. 6d. net. 

In this volume Zachary Stoyanoff gives us the narrative of his 
personal experiences during the Bulgarian outbreaks of 1875 and 
1876. Almost by accident he became an "apostle " of rebellion, and 
was sent out forthwith to range the country, stirring up the villagers 



8 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcement:,. 

and forming local committees. It is an amazing story. With 
unsurpassable candour he portrays for us the leaders, their en- 
thusiasm, their incredible shortsightedness, and the pitiful inadequacy 
of their preparations. The bubble burst, and after a miserable 
attempt at flight, Stoyanoff was taken prisoner and sent to Philippo- 
polis for trial. There is no attempt at heroics. With the same 
Boswellian simplicity he reveals his fears, his cringing, his mendacity; 
and incidentally gives us a graphic picture, not wholly black, of the 
conquering Turk. The narrative ends abruptly while he is still 
in peril of his life. One is glad to know that, somehow, he escaped. 
A very human document, and a remarkable contrast to the startling 
exhibition of efficiency given to the world by the Bulgarians in 
their latest struggle with the Turks. 

SPLENDID FAILURES. 

By HARRY GRAHAM, 

Author of "A Group of Scottish Women," "The Mother of Parliaments," etc. 

With Poytraits. Demy 8vo. los. 6d. net. 

It is perhaps unlikely that any two individuals will agree as to the 
proper definition of the term " A Splendid Failure " — a phrase of 
which the origin would appear to be obscure. It may, however, be 
roughly stated that the "Splendid Failures " of the past divide them- 
selves naturally into three classes : those whom their contemporaries 
invested with a fictitious or exaggerated splendour which posterity 
is quite unable to comprehend or appreciate ; those whom the modern 
world regards with admiration — but who signally failed in im- 
pressing the men of their own generation ; and those who, gifted 
with genius and inspired with lofty ideals, never justified the world's 
high opinion of their talents or fulfilled the promise of their early 
days. In this volume of biographical essays, the author of " A Group 
of Scottish Women " and other popular works has dealt with a 
selection of "splendid failures" of whose personal history the public 
knows but little, though well acquainted with their names. Wolfe 
Tone, " the first of the Fenians " ; Benjamin Haydon, the 
"Cockney Raphael"; Toussaint L'Ouverture, the "Napoleon of 
San Domingo"; William Betty, the "Infant Roscius"; and 
" Champagne " Townshend, the politician of Pitt's day, may be 
included under this category. The reader cannot fail to be in- 
terested in that account which the author gives of the ill-fated 
Archduke Maximilian's attempt to found a Mexican monarchy ; in 
his careful review of the work and character of Hartley Coleridge; 
and in his biographical study of George Smythe, that friend of 
Disraeli whom the statesman-novelist took as his model for the 
hero of " Coningsby." This book, which should appeal strongly 
to all readers of literary essays, is illustrated with eight excellent 
portraits. 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. ! 

THE CORINTHIAN YACHTSMAN'S 
HANDBOOK. 

By FRANCIS B. COOKE. 

With 20 Folding Plates of Designs for Yachts, and numerous black 
and white Illustrations. Demy 8vo. los. 6d. net. 



This new handbook covers the sport of yachting in all its branches. 
The writer, who has had many years' experience of cruising and 
racing in yachts and boats of all types, has treated the subject in a 
thoroughly practical manner. The book is divided into six parts. 

In Part L, which deals with the selection of a yacht, the various 
types and rigs suitable for Corinthian yachting are discussed. The 
designing and building of new craft are also dealt with at some 
length, and designs and descriptions of a number of up-to-date small 
cruisers are given. 

In Part II. some hints are given as to where to station the yacht. 
All available headquarters within easy reach of London are 
described, and the advantages and disadvantages of each pointed 
out. 

Part III. is devoted to the equipment of yachts, and contains a 
wealth of information as to the internal arrangement, rigging, and 
fittings of small cruisers. 

Part IV. treats of the maintenance of small cruising vessels, with 
notes on the cost of upkeep, fitting out and laying up. Other 
matters dealt with in this section are the preservation of sails and 
gear, and insurance. 

Part v., on seamanship, covers the handling of fore-and-aft 
vessels under all conditions of weather, and upon every point of 
sailing. 

Part VI. covers the racing side of the sport in a comprehensive 
manner. An exhaustive exposition of the International Sailing Rules 
is followed by hints on racing tactics. The appendix contains, inter 
alia, an illustrated description of the British Buoyage Sy stein. 

Mr. Cooke's well-known handbooks have come to be regarded by 
yachtsmen as standard works, and a new and more ambitious work 
from his pen can hardly fail to interest them. 



10 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Aniwuncements. 



THE FALL OF PROTECTION. 



By BERNARD HOLLAND, C.B,-, 

Author of " Imperium kt Libertas." 

One Volume, Demy 8vo. 12s. 6d. net. 

This volume is a political-historical study of the great change 
which took place in British commercial and financial policy mainly 
between the years 1840 and 1850. The writer examines the state 
of things in these respects which existed before this revolution, and 
describes the previous protective system, navigation system, and 
colonial system. He then narrates the process by which those 
systems were overthrown, devoting special attention to the character, 
career, and changes in opinion of Sir Robert Peel, and to the attitude 
and action of the Tory, Whig, and Radical parties, and of their leading 
men, especially Mr. Disraeli, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Cobden. 
He analyses with care the arguments used on all sides in these con- 
troversies, especially with regard to the Repeal of the Corn Laws, 
and he shows the extent to which questions of imperial preference 
and the relations between the United Kingdom and the Colonies 
entered into the issues. One chapter is devoted to the Bank Act of 
1844, and to the consideration of its causes and results. The author 
concludes by tracing very briefly the chain of events which connect 
the period in question with our own day, in respect of commercial 
and fiscal policy, and expresses his own views as to existing tendencies 
and future developments. 

Mr. Bernard Holland is known as the author of the Life of the 
Duke of Devonshire, and of " Imperium et Libertas." In a sense 
the present volume is a continuation of the latter book, or rather is 
an attempt to deal more expansively and in detail with certain 
history and questions connected with the same theme, for the full 
treatment of which there was insufficient space in that book. Mr. 
Holland having acted for a number of years as Private Secretary to 
two successive Secretaries of State for the Colonies, has been brought 
into close touch in a practical way with colonial questions. This 
book, it is hoped, will be of some service both to students of economic 
history and to politicians in active life. 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. ii 

PAINTING IN THE FAR EAST. 

By LAURENCE BINYON. 

A New Edition, thoroughly Revised, with many new and additional 
Illustrations. Crown ts^to. 21s. net. 

Since the first edition of this book was published in 1907, much 
has happened, and a quantity of new material has been brought 
to light. 

Interest inthe subject has beenimmensely widened andstrengthened. 
The museums of Europe and America are vying with each other to 
procure fine specimens of Chinese and Japanese art. The opening 
this autumn of a new museum at Cologne, exclusively devoted to the 
arts of Eastern Asia, is a symptom of the times. Collections, public 
and private, both European and American, have been greatly 
enriched ; and the exhibition in 19 10 at Shepherd's Bush, of treasured 
masterpieces lent from Japanese collections, has provided a standard 
for the student. 

Six years ago, again, scarcely any of the voluminous literature of 
art existing in Chinese and Japanese had been translated. On this 
side, too, an added store of information has been made accessible, 
though still in great part scattered in the pages of learned periodicals. 
Above all, the marvellous discoveries made of recent years in China 
and Chinese Turkestan have substituted a mass of authentic material 
for groping conjectures in the study of the art of the early periods. 

In preparing a new edition of this book and bringing it up to date, 
Mr. Binyon has therefore been able to utilize a variety of new sources 
of information. The estimates given of the art of some of the most 
famous of the older masters have been reconsidered. The sections 
dealing with the early art have been in great measure rewritten ; 
and the book has been revised throughout. In the matter of illus- 
trations it has been possible to draw on a wider range and make a 
fuller and more representative selection. 

PAINTING IN EAST AND WEST. 

By ROBERT DOUGLAS NORTON, 

Author of " The Choice." 

Crown ?>vo. 5s. net. 

The art of painting, which in the days of Gothic church-building 
contributed so much both to the education and the pleasure of the 
community at large, has admittedly come to appeal to ever-narrowing 
circles, until to-day it cannot be said to play any part in popular life 
at all. This book seeks to discover the causes of its decline in in- 
fluence. A brief review of the chief contemporary movements in 



12 Mf. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 

painting gives point to a suggestion made by more than one 
thoughtral Critic that the chief need of Western painting is spirituality. 
Since this is a quality which those competent to judge are at one in 
attributing to Eastern art, the author, in a chapter on Far Eastern 
Painting, sets forth the ideals underlying the great painting of China 
and Japan, and contrasts these ideals with those which have inspired 
painters and public in the West. This leads to an inquiry into the 
uses of imagination and suggestion in art, and to an attempt to find 
a broad enough definition for " spirituality " not to exclude many 
widely divergent achievements of Western painting. Finally, the 
possibility of training the sense of beauty is discussed in the light of 
successful instances. 

Incidentally the book touches on many questions which, though 
of interest to picture-lovers, often remain unasked ; such, for instance, 
as what we look for in a picture; how far subject is important; why 
it may happen that the interest of one picture, which pleases at first, 
soon wanes, while that of another grows steadily stronger ; the value 
of technique, of different media of expression, of mere resemblance, 
etc. 

Without going into the technicalities of aesthetics, the author aims 
at investigating certain first principles which are overlooked at times 
by possessors of even the widest knowledge of individual schools. 



SHAKESPEARE'S STORIES. 

By CONSTANCE MAUD and MARY MAUD. 

As Yo0 Like It — The Tempest — King Lear— Twelfth Night — The 
Merchant of Venice^A Midsummer Night's Dream — Macbeth — 
Hamlet — Romeo and Juliet. 

With Illustrations from the famous Boydell prints. Crown 8vo, 

Ss. net. 

Miss Constance Maud is the author of " Wagner's Heroes " and 
" Wagner's Heroines," two books on similar lines to these tales 
which have had a great vogue among young people of all ages. In 
the present volume she tells the charming stories of nine of the most 
famous of Shakespeare's Tragedies and Comedies in prose of de- 
lightful and unstudied simplicity. On occasion the actual text has 
been used for familiar passages and phrases. These great world- 
tales, regarded merely as tales, with the elemental motives and 
passions displayed in them, appeal strongly to the imagination, and 
when narrated by a competent pen there cannot be fiher or more 
absorbing reading. In addition to this, he must be a dull reader in 
whom they do not awaken a desire to make a closer acquaintance 
with the plays themselves. 

The book forms a companion volume to Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch's 
well-known " Historical Tales from Shakespeare." 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements. 13 

THE MUSE IN MOTLEY. 

By HARRY GRAHAM. 

Author of " Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes," etc., etc. 

With 24 Illustrations by 
Lewis Baumer. 

Fcap. ^to. 3s. 6d. net. 

All lovers of humorous verse will welcome a fresh volume of lyrics 
by the author of " Deportmental Ditties," " Canned Classics," and 
other deservedly popular products of the Minor Muse. Readers of 
Captain Graham's new collection of light verse will agree with the 
Daily Chronicle in describing its author as " a godsend, a treasure 
trove, a messenger from Olympus ; a man who really does see the 
ludicrous side of life, a man who is a genuine humorist." Once 
again the author of these amusing poems attempts to " shoot Folly 
as she flies," and genially satirizes the foibles of the age in a fashion 
that will certainly add to his reputation as a humorist ; and his 
work is rendered still more delightful by the drawings of Mr. Lewis 
Baumer, the well-known Punch artist, with which it is lavishly 
illustrated. " It is a great and good thing," as the Pall Mall Gazette 
remarked with reference to another of Captain Graham's books, 
" to have a man among us who is witty all the time and lets him- 
self go. We ought to be duly thankful. And we are ! " 

HANNIBAL ONCE MORE. 

By DOUGLAS W. FRESHFIELD, M.A., 

Vice-President of the Roval Geographical Society ; Treasurer of the Hellenic 
ANU Roman Societies ; formerly President of the Alpine Club. 

8vo. 5s, net. 

In this little volume Mr. Freshfield has put into final shape the 
results of his study of the famous and still-debated question : " By 
which Pass did Hannibal cross the Alps ?" The literature which 
has grown up round this intricate subiectis surprisingly extensive, 
and various solutions have been propounded and upheld, with re- 
markable warmth and tenacity, by a host of scholars, historians, 
geographers, military men, and mountaineers. Mr. Freshfield has 
a solution of his own, which, however, he puts forward in no 
dogmatic spirit, but in such a fashion that his book is practically 
a lucid review of the whole matter in each of its many aspects. To 
an extensive acquaintance with ancient and modern geographical 
literature he unites a wide and varied experience as an alpine climber 
and a traveller, and a minute topographical knowledge of the regions 
under discussion ; and these , qualifications — in which many of his 
predecessors in the same field of inquiry have been conspicuously 
lacking — enable him to throw much new light on a perennially 
fascinating problem. 



14 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements 

THE PASTORAL TEACHING OF 
ST. PAUL. 

By the Rev. Canon H. L. GOUDGE, 

Principal of the Theological College, Ely ; 
Author of "The Mind of St. Paul," etc. 

Crown 8vo. Cloth. 2S. 6d. net. 

These lectures were delivered at the end of May, 1913, at the 
Palace, Gloucester, to the clergy of the diocese, and are now 
published in response to the request of those who heard them. 
They do not constitute a detailed commentary on the Pastoral 
Epistles, though a good deal of detailed exegesis necessarily finds a 
place in them. The writer's aim has been to collect and arrange 
St. Paul's teaching as to the work of the Christian pastor, and to 
point out its applicability to modern conditions and modern diffi- 
culties. The writer has often found, through his experience in 
conducting Retreats, that the Pastoral Teaching of St. Paul is of 
the greatest value to the clergy to-day, but that this teaching is 
often obscured by the unsystematic character of St. Paul's writing 
and by the passing controversies with which he has to deal. In 
these lectures the First Epistle to Timothy is used as the basis, but 
continually illustrated by passages from the other Pastoral Epistles, 
and from St. Paul's earlier writings. The first lecture deals with 
the pastor's aim, the second with the pastor's character, the third 
with the pastor's work, and the fourth with the adaptation of his 
message to men and to women, to old and to young, to rich and to 
poor. The ground already covered by the writer's earlier book, 
" The Mind of St. Paul," has been carefully avoided, but it is hoped 
that the one book may throw light upon the other. An index of 
texts has been added for those who may wish to use this second book, 
as far as that is possible, as a commentary. 



Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements 15 

NEW NOVELS 
SOMETHING AFAR. 

By MAXWELL GRAY, 

Author of "The Silence of Dean Maitland," "The Great Refusal," etc. 

Crown Svo, Cloth. 6s. 

The scene of Maxwell Gray's new story is laid in London and in 
Italy, where the gradual unfolding of an elaborate but absorbing 
plot holds the reader's attention until the very last page of the 
book. This is a tale of heroism, of self-sacrifice, of romance, full of 
incident and adventure, illumined by those tender and imaginative 
touches, that vivid portrayal of character, which the public has learnt 
to expect from the author of "The Silence of Dean Maitland." 
From these pages we may learn that there is " something afar from 
the sphere of our sorrow," the highest aspiration of the lover, the 
artist, the poet and the saint, which, beautiful beyond all that man's 
heart can divine, is yet within the reach of every one of us. 

THE GENTLE LOVER. 

H Come&is of /Ifti&6lc age. 

By FORREST REID, 

Author of " The Beacknells," " Following Darkness," etc. 

Crown 8w, 6s. 

This extremely interesting story, of which the title gives a most 
apt description, is written in a lighter vein than the author's previous 
work. It is a love story, and while the tale itself is enthralling, 
it depends in great measure for its charm on the attractiveness of 
the characters who figure in the drama and who are all very pleasant 
company. The book is essentially human, the note is never forced, 
yet the interest goes on increasing right up to the end. It is actual 
life with its comedy and tragedy so closely intermingled that it is 
not always easy to distinguish one from the other. The scene is laid 
abroad, partly in Bruges, and partly in Italy, but the characters are, 
with one or two exceptions, natives of that part of Ireland with 
which the author is most familiar, and they lose none of their 
individuality by being transplanted to those beautiful old-world 
cities where we follow their varied fortunes. Mr. Reid's previous 
novels have already secured for his work the warm appreciation of 
some of the best judges of literary values, and the present novel 
may be confidently stated to exhibit his undoubted power as a writer 
of fiction in an advanced and progressive stage. 



i6 Mr. Edward Arnold's Autumn Announcements 

NEW SCIENTIFIC WORKS 

INDUSTRIAL POISONING 

jfrom jfumes, Gases, an& poisons of ^anufacturina 

processes. 

By Dr, J. RAMBOUSEK, 

Professor of Factory Hygiene, and Chief State Health Officer, Praghe 

Translated and Edited by Dr. T. M. LEGGE, 

H.M. Medical Inspector of Factories. 

Fully Ilhistrated, Demy Svo, las. 6d. net. 

MALINGERING 

Hn& f eigneb Sicftness. 

By Sir JOHN COLLIE, M.D., J.P., 

Medical Examinee, London County Council ; Chief Medical Officer, Metropolitan 
Water Board; Consulting Medical Examiner to the Shipping Federation; Medical 
Examiner to the Sun Insurance Office, Central Insurance Company, Londopi, Liverpool, 
AND Globe Insurance Company, and other Accident Offices ; late Home Office Med. 
Ref. Workmen's Compensation Act. 

Assisted by ARTHUR H. SPICER, M.B., B.S. (Lond.), D.P.H. 

Illustrated, xii + ^i^o pp. Demy 8vd. los. 6d. net. 

In this work Sir John Collie, whose wide experience has emi- 
nently fitted him for the task, has given an interesting and lucid 
description of the methods and peculiarities of the malingerer. He 
describes fully and in detail the methods of examination for the 
detection of malingering and the diseases usually simulated, and 
discusses the attitude required by the medical attendant towards 
unduly prolonged illness. 

OLD AGE: 

3ts Care an& tlreatment in Ibealtb anJ> disease. 

By ROBERT SAUNDBY, M.D., F.R.C.P., LL.D., J.P., 

Member General Medical Council ; Ex-President British Medical Association ; Pro- 
fessor of Medicine, University of Birmingham; Physician to the Birmingham General 

Hospital. 

320 pp. js. 6d. net. 

No English writer having recently dealt with this subject, it has 
been felt that there is room for a book which should bring together 
the various contributions made to it in modern times, including the 
results of the author's extensive experience during forty years of 
medical practice. The author discusses the principles of health, by 
due attention to which healthy old age may be attained. The 
diseases to which the aged are especial^ liable are fully described, 
their causes are clearly indicated, and the author shows in a practical 
way by what means they may be avoided and how they may be 
appropriately treated. Special attention is given to such important 
subjects as diet, exercise, etc. Suggestive dietary tables are given, 
both for use in health and in particular diseases, while the chapters 
devoted to methods of exercise most suitable in advanced age will 
also prove of value. 

LONDON : EDWARD ARNOLD, 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, W. 



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